Three Chinese taikonauts who blasted off on the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft told the ground control center that they felt "physically sound" in the first few minutes of the flight.
The space voyager took off at 9:10 PM on Thursday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center with leaders including President Hu Jintao present seeing off the taikonauts -- Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng.
"The solar panel has unfolded and we feel well," one of the crew members told the Beijing control center.
The Shenzhou-7 mission, featuring a spacewalk, is China's third manned spaceflight.
(Xinhua News Agency September 26, 2008)