China plans its second manned space launch later this week, with reports suggesting a Wednesday or Thursday blast-off from Inner Mongolia.
Chinese space agency officials have not confirmed a date, but short-listed astronauts for the two-man mission have already arrived at the Gobi desert launch site.
China launched its first manned space flight two years ago, in October 2003.
The secretive space program is closely affiliated with the military and is considered a source of national prestige.
Some information for this report prepared by AP and AFP.