launched its second manned space mission, sending two
astronauts into orbit as it opened a new chapter in its
ambitious drive to become a global space power.
VI lifted off on a Long March 2F carrier rocket from Jiuquan
Satellite Launch Center at 9 AM (0100 GMT) for a five-day
mission carrying air force pilots Fei Junlong and Nie
entered a fixed orbit 21 minutes later.
first day's flight is satisfying, the Xinhua News Agency
quoted space experts as saying.
spacecraft enjoyed normal electricity supply and maintained
its basic functions after entering the orbit, said the
astronauts smoothly completed their actions as planned,
such as taking on and off the space suits, opening the
capsule doors, eating, drinking and sleeping, Xinhua said.
capability of the spacecraft to shift orbit also stood
two astronauts will Thursday be engaged in an anti-disturbance
experiment in which Fei and Nie will open and close the
capsule doors, take on and off their space suits and operate
would purposely use more strength to move, so as to test
the disturbance of people's movement on the spacecraft.
two crew on board is a departure from October 2003, when
Yang Liwei spent 21 hours on a solo odyssey -- a mission
that made China only the third country after the United
States and former Soviet Union to achieve the feat.
40 seconds after Wednesday's launch the craft disappeared
into the clouds, but a camera on board showed Nie waving
as the launch center said lift off and all signals were
feel good," said Fei in his first transmission from
40, and Nie, 41, were seen off by Premier Wen Jiabao,
who was at the launch pad to drum up nationalistic sentiment,
saying he believed "the astronauts will accomplish
the glorious and sacred mission".
will once again show that the Chinese people have the
will, confidence and capability to mount scientific peaks
ceaselessly," Wen said, adding that the whole country
expects "their victorious return from the mission."
top leaders including President Hu Jintao and and Vice
President Zeng Qinghong watched the event at the Beijing
Aerospace Command and Control Center.
was falling at the launch site shortly before lift off
but stopped at about the time the astronauts entered their
craft, Xinhua news agency reported.
fact that Wednesday's mission carried two astronauts reflects
the twin purposes of China's space program, which aims
for both scientific gains and kudos at home and abroad.
of it is technical. If you are two people, you can do
more complicated and more sophisticated types of work
and experimentation," said Joan Johnson-Freese, an
expert on China's space program at the US Naval War College.
of its also too is prestige. Two people is harder than
one person," she said.
two astronauts talked, through a phone, with their family
members in the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center
for about seven minutes, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
Tianxiang, daughter of Nie Haisheng, sang a song for her
father's birthday which falls on Thursday.
VI is expected to circle around the Earth for the next
119 hours, or nearly five days, before landing in the
Inner Mongolian grasslands.
craft is based on the robust and thoroughly tested Soviet
design for the Soyuz vessel, and consists of three modules.
include the orbital module where scientific experiments
are carried out; the re-entry capsule where the astronauts
will spend most of their time; and the service module,
which contains fuel and air, solar panels and other technical
Yang Liwei two years ago, the two astronauts will leave
their capsule for lengthy experiments in the orbital module
at the nose of the spacecraft, observers said.
do quite a lot of medical tests, they'll take blood tests,
urine tests, and they will also work out what kind of
space food works for them" said Brian Harvey, the
Dublin-based author of a book on China's space ambitions.
ultimately what they are planning is a space station...
and to do that they will need to learn how do they survive
on longer missions."
flight of Shenzhou VI will also be a thorough and comprehensive
test of China's tracking network, which includes tracking
stations as far away as Namibia and four tracking ships
placed around the oceans of the world.
Jiuquan city, several hours' drive away from the satellite
launch center, a sense of local pride was clearly visible.
a successful launch of Shenzhou VI," said a large
red poster in front of one of the city's hotels, while
billboards advertised special "Shenzhou Rice Wine."
very happy about all this," said Ma Li, a teenage
resident of Jiuquan city. "It's amazing that we Chinese
gradually have the know-how to pull this kind of thing
off," she said.
use of space
had stressed that its space program was peaceful and it
did not want to enter any arms race in space.
develops space technology purely for peaceful purposes,
Premier Wen Jiabao said, adding that China is willing
to cooperate with other nations in the development of
space science and technology.
United States congratulated China on successful launch
and welcomed any effort to make peaceful use of space.
obviously congratulate China on the successful launch
of its second manned space mission," Deputy State
Department spokesman Adam Ereli said.
view is that the peaceful use of space is something that
is appropriate and we welcome China's developments in
(Xinhua News Agency October 13, 2003)