China Launches 3-man Crew Into Space

From AP:

China on Thursday successfully launched a three-man crew into space where one of them will make the country’s first spacewalk, the country’s most challenging space mission since first launching a person into space in 2003.

The Shenzhou 7 spacecraft, China’s third manned mission, blasted off atop a Long March 2F rocket shortly after 9:00 p.m. (1300 GMT) under clear night skies in northwestern China. The spacewalk by one of the astronauts is expected to take place either on Friday or Saturday.

Underscoring the mission’s heavy political overtones, Chinese President and Communist Party head Hu Jintao was shown live on state television hailing the astronauts at the launch site near the northwestern town of Jiuquan.

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