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China put its first man in space yesterday, sending a single astronaut on a 21-hour odyssey around the Earth four decades after the Soviet Union and the United States pioneered manned space flight.
China began the final countdown yesterday in its bid to become the third nation to rocket a man into orbit, with clear skies forecast over the Gobi desert launchpad where lift-off was due to come as soon as today.
China yesterday announced plans to launch a satellite to monitor the Earth but made no mention of its top-secret first manned space flight expected any day now.