15.10.

2003: Yang Liwei: First Chinese in Space

2003: Yang Liwei: First Chinese in Space
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 15 October 2003
  • Chinese Astronaut Yang Liwei orbited the Earth 14 times, all within 21 hours, 22 minutes, and 45 seconds. The launch took place at the Chinese launch center Jiuquan in the Gobi desert.

On this day in 2003, the People’s Republic of China became the third country in history to successfully send a man into space.

Only two other countries (the USA and the USSR/Russia) have thus far managed to achieve this, making China a member of a very elite circle. The mission was called Shenzhou 5, while the rocket that propelled the spacecraft into orbit was called Long March 2F (Changzheng 2F).

Of course, the latter name refers to the famous Long March performed by the Communist guerillas under Mao Zedong in 1934/1935.

The Chinese astronaut who flew into space on this day is called Yang Liwei. He then held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, but has since risen to Major General. At the time of his first flight, he was 38 years old.

Yang Liewi orbited the Earth a full 14 times, all in the scope of 21 hours, 22 minutes, and 45 seconds. He orbited our planet at an altitude of between 332 and 336 km (low Earth Orbit).

The Launch took place at the Chinese launch center Jiuquan in the Gobi desert. The People’s Republic of China has three other such space launch centers – one on the island of Hainan in the South Sea, one in the province of Sichuan (southwestern China), and one in the province of Shanxi (norther China).

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