News / Asia

China Launches 15-day Manned Space Mission

Chinese astronauts (from L to R) Wang Yaping, Zhang Xiaoguang and Nie Haisheng wave before leaving for the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft mission at Jiuquan satellite launch center in Jiuquan, Gansu province, June 11, 2013.
Chinese astronauts (from L to R) Wang Yaping, Zhang Xiaoguang and Nie Haisheng wave before leaving for the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft mission at Jiuquan satellite launch center in Jiuquan, Gansu province, June 11, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Shannon Van Sant
— China launched a manned space mission Tuesday, continuing its ambitious goal of building its own space station. Among the many tasks to be undertaken during the 15-day flight, the astronauts will lead lectures from space to educate Chinese students.
 
China launched the manned Shenzhou-10 spacecraft from a satellite launch center in the Gobi desert.  The space craft is carrying two men and one woman and will travel through space for 15 days.
 
Chinese president Xi Jinping met with the astronauts before take off.  
 
Xi said the astronauts made Chinese people feel very proud.  He said the mission is glorious and sacred.  He said he is confident the crew will complete the mission successfully and he looks forward to the astronauts’ triumphant return.  
 
The spacecraft will go through two docking tests with the orbiting space lab module Tiangong 1.  One test will be automatic, and the other manual.  Astronauts will also perform tests on the station’s life support systems.  The Tiangong serves as a prototype for a larger space station China plans to launch in 2020.  

  • A student looks at his iPad as his class watches a live broadcast of a lecture given by astronauts from the Tiangong-1 space module, at a primary school in Quzhou, Zhejiang province, China, June 20, 2013.
  • Students watch a live broadcast of a lecture given by astronauts on the Tiangong-1 space module, at a school in Beijing, June 20, 2013.
  • The Long March 2-F rocket loaded with the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft lifts off from the launch pad in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, Gansu province, June 11, 2013.
  • People watch as the Long March 2-F rocket loaded with the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft lifts off, Gansu province, China, June 11, 2013.
  • A soldier runs away from the launch pad holding the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft at Jiuquan satellite launch center in Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, June 10, 2013.
  • Chinese astronauts (from L to R) Wang Yaping, Zhang Xiaoguang and Nie Haisheng wave before leaving for the Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft mission, Gansu province, June 11, 2013.

The astronauts will also deliver a series of talks to primary and middle school students from aboard the Tiangong.  Chinese state media reports the lectures will focus on physics.  NASA has long used student outreach as a means of inspiring support for the U.S. space program.  
 
Morris Jones, an Australian space analyst, said China’s expanding space program is part of an effort to show the Chinese people, and the world, the country’s rising power.  
 
“If it wants to be a super power class nation, that developing a very strong space program is one way it can project that image both internally and externally to the outside world,” he said. 
 
China was prevented from taking part in the International Space Station, in part, because of U.S. objections over the space program’s link to China’s military.  China’s future space station will weigh 60 tons and be about one-sixth the size of the International Space Station. 
 
“It really shows the transformation in China over the last decade. China is now so very different from where it was just a decade ago," said Stephen Noerper, an East Asia analyst with the New York-based Korean Society. "It's grown so very much in its economic prowess, in terms of its political importance, and in terms of its technical capabilities, that it makes things like this next step in space very much significant and an important sign of where China stands in terms of its role as an emerging global player.”
 
The space mission’s crew includes China’s second female astronaut to travel into space.  Wang Yaping is also China’s first astronaut born in the 1980s.  State-run media reports say she grew up in a farming family in China’s Shandong Province before being selected as an astronaut in 2010.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid