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Pictures | Wed Dec 18, 2013 | 8:35pm EST

China's space odyssey

<p>A photograph of the giant screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows photo of China's Chang'e 3 probe, taken by the country's first lunar rover, Yutu, during the mutual-photograph process, in Beijing December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

A photograph of the giant screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows photo of China's Chang'e 3 probe, taken by the country's first lunar rover, Yutu, during the mutual-photograph process, in Beijing December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer more

A photograph of the giant screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows photo of China's Chang'e 3 probe, taken by the country's first lunar rover, Yutu, during the mutual-photograph process, in Beijing December 15, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>A photograph taken on a giant screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing shows an animated image of the Chang'e-3 lunar probe landing onto the surface of the moon, December 14, 2013.  REUTERS/Stringer</p>

A photograph taken on a giant screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing shows an animated image of the Chang'e-3 lunar probe landing onto the surface of the moon, December 14, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A photograph taken on a giant screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing shows an animated image of the Chang'e-3 lunar probe landing onto the surface of the moon, December 14, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>The Long March-3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe blasts off from the launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province December 2, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily</p>

The Long March-3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe blasts off from the launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province December 2, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

The Long March-3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe blasts off from the launch pad at Xichang Satellite Launch Center, Sichuan province December 2, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

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<p>The Long March 3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe is seen docked at the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Liangshan, Sichuan province December 1, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

The Long March 3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe is seen docked at the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Liangshan, Sichuan province December 1, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

The Long March 3B rocket carrying the Chang'e-3 lunar probe is seen docked at the launch pad at the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Liangshan, Sichuan province December 1, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Visitors take pictures of a prototype model of a lunar rover at the 15th China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, November 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Visitors take pictures of a prototype model of a lunar rover at the 15th China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, November 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

Visitors take pictures of a prototype model of a lunar rover at the 15th China International Industry Fair in Shanghai, November 5, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Astronauts (L-R) Wang Yaping, Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang salute during a press event after they were eased from quarantine, in Beijing July 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Astronauts (L-R) Wang Yaping, Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang salute during a press event after they were eased from quarantine, in Beijing July 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

Astronauts (L-R) Wang Yaping, Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang salute during a press event after they were eased from quarantine, in Beijing July 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng waves before getting out of the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft after it landed at its main landing site in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily</p>

Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng waves before getting out of the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft after it landed at its main landing site in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng waves before getting out of the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft after it landed at its main landing site in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

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<p>Ground crew helps a Chinese astronaut exit from the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft after it returning to earth at its main landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Ground crew helps a Chinese astronaut exit from the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft after it returning to earth at its main landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

Ground crew helps a Chinese astronaut exit from the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft after it returning to earth at its main landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Students raise their hands to ask questions to Wang Yaping (on screen), a member of the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft astronauts who is giving a lecture on the Tiangong-1 space module, at a school in Beijing, June 20, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily</p>

Students raise their hands to ask questions to Wang Yaping (on screen), a member of the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft astronauts who is giving a lecture on the Tiangong-1 space module, at a school in Beijing, June 20, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

Students raise their hands to ask questions to Wang Yaping (on screen), a member of the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft astronauts who is giving a lecture on the Tiangong-1 space module, at a school in Beijing, June 20, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

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<p>A policeman stands guard next to a component of the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft which was found in Badain Jaran Desert after the launch, in Alxa League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region June 12, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

A policeman stands guard next to a component of the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft which was found in Badain Jaran Desert after the launch, in Alxa League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region June 12, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

A policeman stands guard next to a component of the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft which was found in Badain Jaran Desert after the launch, in Alxa League, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region June 12, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>People observe the Long March 2-F rocket loaded with Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping lift off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

People observe the Long March 2-F rocket loaded with Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping lift off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province June 11,...more

People observe the Long March 2-F rocket loaded with Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping lift off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province June 11, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>China's Shenzhou 10 spacecraft and its carrier Long March 2-F rocket are seen being transferred to its launching site at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, Gansu province June 3, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

China's Shenzhou 10 spacecraft and its carrier Long March 2-F rocket are seen being transferred to its launching site at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, Gansu province June 3, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

China's Shenzhou 10 spacecraft and its carrier Long March 2-F rocket are seen being transferred to its launching site at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, Gansu province June 3, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Employees install a signage of the 54th Research Institute of CETC (China Electronic Technology Group Corporation), which takes the main responsibility of the research and development tasks of a massive radio telescope, at the foot of the telescope in Shanghai October 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Employees install a signage of the 54th Research Institute of CETC (China Electronic Technology Group Corporation), which takes the main responsibility of the research and development tasks of a massive radio telescope, at the foot of the telescope...more

Employees install a signage of the 54th Research Institute of CETC (China Electronic Technology Group Corporation), which takes the main responsibility of the research and development tasks of a massive radio telescope, at the foot of the telescope in Shanghai October 28, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Chinese soldier stands beside Long March II-F rocket loaded with China's unmanned space module Tiangong-1 at the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, September 28, 2011. 


REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic</p>

Chinese soldier stands beside Long March II-F rocket loaded with China's unmanned space module Tiangong-1 at the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, September 28, 2011. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

Chinese soldier stands beside Long March II-F rocket loaded with China's unmanned space module Tiangong-1 at the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, September 28, 2011. REUTERS/Petar Kujundzic

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<p>An illustration of China's Tiangong-1 space module. 

REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre</p>

An illustration of China's Tiangong-1 space module. REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre

An illustration of China's Tiangong-1 space module. REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre

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<p>An illustration of the working process of China's Tiangong-1 space module. 

REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre/Handout</p>

An illustration of the working process of China's Tiangong-1 space module. REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre/Handout

An illustration of the working process of China's Tiangong-1 space module. REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre/Handout

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<p>An illustration of the interior of China's Tiangong-1 space module. 


REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre/Handout</p>

An illustration of the interior of China's Tiangong-1 space module. REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre/Handout

An illustration of the interior of China's Tiangong-1 space module. REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre/Handout

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<p>An illustration of China's Tiangong-1 space module. 
  

REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre/Handout</p>

An illustration of China's Tiangong-1 space module. REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre/Handout

An illustration of China's Tiangong-1 space module. REUTERS/Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre/Handout

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<p>Visitors walk inside the Space Home Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo site, April 15, 2010. 
REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Visitors walk inside the Space Home Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo site, April 15, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer

Visitors walk inside the Space Home Pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo site, April 15, 2010. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang holds the national flag after exiting the Shenzhou VII space craft, becoming the first Chinese man to walk in space, September 27, 2008. REUTERS/CCTV via Reuters TV</p>

Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang holds the national flag after exiting the Shenzhou VII space craft, becoming the first Chinese man to walk in space, September 27, 2008. REUTERS/CCTV via Reuters TV

Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang holds the national flag after exiting the Shenzhou VII space craft, becoming the first Chinese man to walk in space, September 27, 2008. REUTERS/CCTV via Reuters TV

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<p>The Long-March II-F rocket carrying the Shenzhou VII manned spacecraft blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, September 25, 2008. 


REUTERS/Stringer</p>

The Long-March II-F rocket carrying the Shenzhou VII manned spacecraft blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, September 25, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

The Long-March II-F rocket carrying the Shenzhou VII manned spacecraft blasts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, September 25, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Jing Haipeng, one of the astronauts for the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft, enters the cabin during a drill for the launch of the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, August 31, 2008. 

REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Jing Haipeng, one of the astronauts for the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft, enters the cabin during a drill for the launch of the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, August 31, 2008....more

Jing Haipeng, one of the astronauts for the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft, enters the cabin during a drill for the launch of the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, August 31, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>The Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship and the Long-March II-F rocket sit on the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 20, 2008. 

REUTERS/Stringer</p>

The Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship and the Long-March II-F rocket sit on the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 20, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

The Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship and the Long-March II-F rocket sit on the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 20, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Children play in front of the Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship, the Long-March II-F rocket and the escape tower at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 20, 2008. 

REUTERS/China Daily</p>

Children play in front of the Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship, the Long-March II-F rocket and the escape tower at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 20, 2008. REUTERS/China Daily

Children play in front of the Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship, the Long-March II-F rocket and the escape tower at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 20, 2008. REUTERS/China Daily

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<p>Researchers from the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology check a prototype lunar rover in Shanghai, April 23, 2008. 

REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Researchers from the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology check a prototype lunar rover in Shanghai, April 23, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

Researchers from the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology check a prototype lunar rover in Shanghai, April 23, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>A child plays with a model of the moon displayed at Beijing Planetarium, November 29, 2007. 


REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV</p>

A child plays with a model of the moon displayed at Beijing Planetarium, November 29, 2007. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

A child plays with a model of the moon displayed at Beijing Planetarium, November 29, 2007. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

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<p>A visitor walks inside a tunnel while viewing a space display at Beijing Planetarium, November 29, 2007. 


REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV</p>

A visitor walks inside a tunnel while viewing a space display at Beijing Planetarium, November 29, 2007. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

A visitor walks inside a tunnel while viewing a space display at Beijing Planetarium, November 29, 2007. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

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<p>Visitors walk among replicas of rockets at a theme park in Wuhu, east China's Anhui province, October 23, 2007. 


 REUTERS/Jianan Yu</p>

Visitors walk among replicas of rockets at a theme park in Wuhu, east China's Anhui province, October 23, 2007. REUTERS/Jianan Yu

Visitors walk among replicas of rockets at a theme park in Wuhu, east China's Anhui province, October 23, 2007. REUTERS/Jianan Yu

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<p>Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping waves after she gets out from the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft returning to earth at its main landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping waves after she gets out from the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft returning to earth at its main landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping waves after she gets out from the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft returning to earth at its main landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, June 26, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Pupils fly paper planes during a live broadcast of a lecture given by Shenzhou-10 spacecraft astronauts (on screen from L to R, Zhang Xiaoguang, Wang Yaping and Nie Haisheng) on the Tiangong-1 space module, at a primary school in Hengyang, Hunan province June 20, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily</p>

Pupils fly paper planes during a live broadcast of a lecture given by Shenzhou-10 spacecraft astronauts (on screen from L to R, Zhang Xiaoguang, Wang Yaping and Nie Haisheng) on the Tiangong-1 space module, at a primary school in Hengyang, Hunan...more

Pupils fly paper planes during a live broadcast of a lecture given by Shenzhou-10 spacecraft astronauts (on screen from L to R, Zhang Xiaoguang, Wang Yaping and Nie Haisheng) on the Tiangong-1 space module, at a primary school in Hengyang, Hunan province June 20, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

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<p>The Long March 2-F rocket loaded with Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province June 11, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily</p>

The Long March 2-F rocket loaded with Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province June 11, 2013....more

The Long March 2-F rocket loaded with Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province June 11, 2013. REUTERS/China Daily

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<p>Chinese astronauts (from L to R) Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping salute in a re-entry capsule during a training at Beijing Aerospace City in Beijing, April 29, 2013.  REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Chinese astronauts (from L to R) Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping salute in a re-entry capsule during a training at Beijing Aerospace City in Beijing, April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

Chinese astronauts (from L to R) Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping salute in a re-entry capsule during a training at Beijing Aerospace City in Beijing, April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>The Long March II-F rocket loaded with a Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province June 16, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee</p>

The Long March II-F rocket loaded with a Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province June 16, 2012. REUTERS/Jason...more

The Long March II-F rocket loaded with a Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft carrying Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province June 16, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Lee

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<p>Chinese astronaut Fei Junlong's boots can be seen as he listens to questions during a media tour of the China Astronaut Centre of Beijing Aerospace City, April 29, 2011. REUTERS/David Gray</p>

Chinese astronaut Fei Junlong's boots can be seen as he listens to questions during a media tour of the China Astronaut Centre of Beijing Aerospace City, April 29, 2011. REUTERS/David Gray

Chinese astronaut Fei Junlong's boots can be seen as he listens to questions during a media tour of the China Astronaut Centre of Beijing Aerospace City, April 29, 2011. REUTERS/David Gray

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<p>Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming salute before taking part in a drill for the launch of the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 3, 2008. 

REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming salute before taking part in a drill for the launch of the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 3, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer more

Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng, Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming salute before taking part in a drill for the launch of the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 3, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>The Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship and the Long-March II-F rocket sit on the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 20, 2008. 

REUTERS/Stringer</p>

The Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship and the Long-March II-F rocket sit on the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 20, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

The Shenzhou-7 manned spaceship and the Long-March II-F rocket sit on the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in Gansu province, September 20, 2008. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>China launches its second manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu province, October 12, 2005. 


REUTERS/China Newsphoto</p>

China launches its second manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu province, October 12, 2005. REUTERS/China Newsphoto

China launches its second manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu province, October 12, 2005. REUTERS/China Newsphoto

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<p>China launches its second manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu province, October 12, 2005. 


REUTERS/China Newsphoto</p>

China launches its second manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu province, October 12, 2005. REUTERS/China Newsphoto

China launches its second manned spacecraft Shenzhou VI at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu province, October 12, 2005. REUTERS/China Newsphoto

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<p>Soldiers watch the Long March CZ-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou VI blast off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, October 12, 2005. 

REUTERS/China Newsphoto</p>

Soldiers watch the Long March CZ-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou VI blast off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, October 12, 2005. REUTERS/China Newsphoto

Soldiers watch the Long March CZ-2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou VI blast off at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, October 12, 2005. REUTERS/China Newsphoto

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