China in Space
This page is dedicated to the manned space program and flights of China.
China became the third nation to launch men into space* on 15 October 2003. Details of the Chinese space program is somewhat sketchy as the program is run by the military and is closely held.
In May 2002, China disclosed that 14 yuhangyuans ("astronauts") were in intense training. The first two selections received extensive training in Russia. Since then, all have received some training in Russia.
Just what China should call its men or women in orbit is still undecided. Common terms are: (1) Hangtianyuan ("space navigator") which is preferred in the Chinese press; (2) Taikonaut ("taikong", Chinese for outer space, and "naus", Greek for sailor) is preferred by Westerners because it is easier to pronounce; and (3) Yuhangyuan (literally "universe travel worker") which has been used for many years to describe participants in the American and Russian space programs. Oddly enough, when Xinhau news agency issues dispatches in English, they use the term "astronaut". Taikonaut seems to be the most popular at this time.
The Chinese space program is ambitious and includes a small space station by 2010, and a larger station about 2020. Lunar exploration is also underway. However, officials have stated that there is no current plan or timetable for a manned lunar landing. The manned portion of the Chinese space program falls under the purview of Project 921. A earlier venture into manned space flight took place under the guise of Project 714.
In the first phase of lunar exploration by the Chinese, Chang'e-1 was launched 24 October 2007 and successfully inserted into lunar orbit. It is in the process of photographing and mapping the lunar surface. The second phase of lunar exploration has plans for a moon rover to a specific area in 2012. A third phase calls for a return to earth of lunar material in 2017.
* China became the fifth nation to orbit an artificial satellite on 24 April 1970 when Dong Fang Hong 1 (The East is Red) was launched.
Learn more about the Chinese Long March Family of rockets.
Find astronaut and cosmonaut nationalities, date and place of birth, flights, and EVA's on these pages dedicated to the Astronauts & Cosmonauts.
China has three major Satellite Launch Centers. These are Jiuquan in Gansu Province, Taiyuan in Shanxi Province, and Xichang in Sichuan Province. Chinese manned orbital launches take place from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Where is Jiuquan?
Last updated: 29 December 2015 13:46:28.
Times accessed: 33436
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