China starts space flight countdown Guardian Unlimited

China yesterday began the countdown towards its first manned space mission, announcing a three-day launch window from next Wednesday for the Shenzhou V (Divine Vessel). Confirmation of the date, which like most other aspects of the programme has been a closely guarded secret, is expected to open the floodgates for an outpouring of patriotic pride if China succeeds in becoming only the third nation to put a man in orbit.