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China to launch third manned space flight in September: report
by Staff Writers
Hong Kong (AFP) Sept 2, 2008

The Jiuquan launch centre in northwest Gansu province.

China has brought forward the launch date of its third manned space flight to late September, a report said Tuesday.

The launch of Shenzhou VII is now expected to take place between September 17 -- the end of the Beijing Paralympics -- and China's National Day on October 1, Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po said, citing unnamed sources.

The period offered the best launch window for Shenzhou VII, the source told the Chinese-language newspaper, without giving any more details.

The mission will blast off from China's Jiuquan launch centre in northwest Gansu province and land in northern Inner Mongolia province, Wen Wei Po said.

The launch schedule has been changed several times, with previous Chinese state media reports suggesting a October or November launch.

Three "taikonauts" or astronauts will be on board the flight, with one of them conducting China's first space walk, China's official Xinhua news agency said in an earlier report, quoting a spokesman for the mission.

China successfully launched its first man, Yang Liwei, into orbit in 2003, making it the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States to put a man in space.

It sent two more astronauts into orbit in 2005 on a five-day mission.


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