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The World

The Soviet Union said it will launch its space shuttle Buran on an unmanned mission this week, after months of delays similar to those that plagued the maiden voyage of its U.S. counterpart. A government commission set the launch for 6:23 a.m. Moscow time Saturday (8:23 p.m. PDT Friday) after receiving reports from specialists following extensive testing of Buran (Russian for “snowstorm”) and its booster rocket, the official Tass news agency reported. Preparations for pouring nearly 2,000 tons of liquid hydrogen, oxygen and hydrocarbon fuel into the booster are to begin today. The launch was originally planned for the first half of this year, but it was postponed as technical problems arose. Soviet space officials said that foreign reporters would not be allowed to travel to Baikonur in Central Asia for the launching.


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