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China's "mysterious" space mission launch center unveiled to overseas media
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21:56, September 24, 2008

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The once "mysterious" satellite launch center isolated in a northwest China desert, where the country's third manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 is due to blast off, has unveiled itself to overseas media.

Eleven journalists with nine overseas media organizations have gathered at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center to cover the Shenzhou-7 program, becoming the first group of journalists from outside the Chinese mainland, since the base's founding half a century ago, to witness and report a space mission of the country at the very site of a launch.

The media organizations include Reuters, the Associate Press, RIA Novosti and Japan's Fuji TV. They participated two news conferences Wednesday afternoon, when the headquarters briefed them on the mission and the trio taikonauts met the press at a window pane-separated, quarantined room.

"I watched China's first two manned space missions on TV. It was very nice for me to report the Shenzhou-7 mission here at Jiuquan," said Konstantin Shchepin, Beijing senior correspondent of RIA Novosti.

Two news organizations from Taiwan were invited to the launch center. "It is amazing that I am allowed to enter this usually mysterious area," said Vicky Chan, a reporter with TVBS of Taipei, who arrived at the launch center on Friday.

TVBS would cooperate with the China Central Television of the mainland to produce programs on the Shenzhou-7 mission, she said.

Located in a remote desert area in northwest Gansu Province, the launch base was established in 1958 and 210 km away from the Jiuquan city's downtown. It started to open to the public in 1986.

Source: Xinhua

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