SUMMARY: China has entered its final countdown in preparation for its first manned flight – Shenzhou 5 is expected to lift off Wednesday, October 15 carrying a single astronaut. The current top candidate is Yang Liwei, a 38-year old from the Suizhong county in the province of Liaoning. China was originally going to broadcast the launch live, but then decided against it, concerned of the public relations fallout if something goes wrong. State television will probably provide video of the launch… only if it lifts off successfully. Shenzhou 5 will stay up for approximately 20 hours and make 14 orbits of the Earth before landing in the desert.
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