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.
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

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More