China to Launch First Astronaut In One Week

image

Update: A day after the People's Daily story about a one-orbit mission for Shenzhou V, another state-owned newspaper, China Daily, said that the mission will last for 14 orbits.

According to a report in the state-run newspaper "People's Daily", China will launch a lone astronaut or "yuhangyuan" on a one-orbit trip around Earth on 15 October 2003.

The Shenzhou V mission is expected to last 90 minutes - a repeat of a feat first accomplished by Yuri Gagarin in 1961. Only two other nations on Earth have developed and implemented a human spaceflight capability.

To date, China has flown 4 unmanned versions of its Shenzhou spacecraft. Each mission built upon the previous one, and led up to the flight of a fully operational spacecraft - minus only a human - late last year.

According to People's Daily: "The flight would take place a day after the closing of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee's 3rd plenum, a major political meeting. That schedule - coupled with the National Day holiday last week - illustrates China's long-held desire to hold up its space program as a patriotic endeavor, the Associated Press said in a reported filed from Beijing."

The launch is expected ot be covered on Chinese television. It is uncertain whether the launch will be carried live.

Related news

  • Focus on China's Space Program, SpaceRef
  • 29 December 2002: China Launches Shenzhou IV Spacecraft
  • 25 March 2002: Screen Grabs from CCTV Shenzhou-III Launch Report
  • 25 March 2002: Shenzhou III Unmanned Spacecraft Launched
  • 9 January 2001: China Launches Second Shenzhou Mission - With Animals Aboard
  • 22 November 2000: China Unveils its Plans For Space
  • 15 October 2000: Spacelift Washington: China's Man-rated Launcher Has Commercial Appeal
  • 21 November 1999: China Successfully Launches First Experimental Spacecraft
  • 3 November 1999: Chinese Space Official Evasive About Russian Help on Manned Space Program


    Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.