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Report: Shenzhou 3 close to launch
Posted: Fri, Mar 22, 2002, 8:19 PM ET (0119 GMT)
Shenzhou illustration by Simon Zajc China is preparing to launch the third flight of its manned spacecraft prototype, a Chinese newspaper reported Friday. The Chinese-language newspaper Wen Wei Po said that the uncrewed launch of Shenzhou 3 would take place "within days", according to an AFP account of the article. No further details about the impending flight were given other than to say that strong dust storms in northern China had not affected launch preparations. Similar reports came from China in January, but no launch took place. The Shenzhou 3 launch had reportedly been delayed for several months because of technical problems, according to fragmentary reports over the last few weeks. There were some claims that the launch would be delayed until June. Shenzhou is a prototype of China's manned spacecraft, although the first Shenzhou flight to carry humans is not expected until at least next year.
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