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Beijing To Launch Manned Spacecraft This Month

A rocket carrying the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
China is set to launch a manned spacecraft this month that will attempt to dock for the first time with a module already in orbit.

The official Xinhua news agency reports that the country's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and its carrier rocket have already been moved to a launch site in northwest China and are scheduled to be launched sometime this month.

The spacecraft is expected to carry three astronauts, who will dock with and live in the Tiangong 1 orbiting module.

It will be China's first manned space mission since September 2008.

Beijing has expressed an aim of maintaining a permanent space station by 2020.
Based on reporting by AFP and AP