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BEIJING — From a secretive desert town in China's northwest, the country will launch its third manned spaceflight Thursday, which will feature the nation's first spacewalk.
Chinese television will broadcast the takeoff from the Jiuquan satellite launch center in Gansu province, as well as the spacewalk, for the public to view another milestone soon after last month's Olympic Games in Beijing.
A news story describing a successful launch of China's long-awaited space mission and including detailed dialogue between astronauts launched on the Internet Thursday, hours before the rocket had even left the ground.
The country's official news agency Xinhua posted the article on its Web site Thursday, and remained there for much of the day before it was taken down.
A staffer from the Xinhuanet.com Web site who answered the phone Thursday said the posting of the article was a "technical error" by a technician. The staffer refused to give his name as is common among Chinese officials.