China's (search) second manned space mission will be launched Wednesday morning, carrying two astronauts into orbit on a flight lasting several days, the government announced Tuesday.

A rocket carrying the Shenzhou VI (search) space capsule will blast off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (search) in the Gobi Desert of China's northwest, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

An earlier Xinhua report said a crew had been picked from a field of six finalists.

A Chinese newspaper identified the pilot of Shenzhou VI as Fei Junlong (search) and said he would be accompanied by Nie Haisheng (search). The report by the Chongqing Morning Post didn't cite a source.

Nie was among 1-1/2 hours in orbit before his capsule landed by parachute in China's northern grasslands.