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Shenzhou-2 launch this week?
Posted: Sun, Jan 7, 2001, 8:54 PM ET (0154 GMT)
There are more signs that China will conduct the second test flight of a prototype of a piloted spacecraft this month, possibly this week. The Go Taikonauts web site, which follows the Chinese space industry, reported this weekend that three of four Yuan Wang tracking ships are in position: two in the Pacific Ocean and one in the Indian, with a fourth apparently en route to the Atlantic. An AFP article on Thursday quoted Chinese officials who said a launch would take place this month, although denying rumors that the launch was scheduled for the 5th. Go Taikonauts has listed a Shenzhou-2 launch for January 10 -- this Wednesday -- although provides no additional information to support that date. Shenzhou, superficially similar to Russia's Soyuz, first launched in November 1999 on a one-day flight. At least one more unpiloted test is expected after this one before China attempts its first human spaceflight.
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