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China's Space Program

Hello, I was very happy to come across your site. I am an amateur space enthusiast from England and I have been trying for a long time to find someone regarding the Chinese Space program.

I want to find out whether it is possible to be sent any photos or any material regarding the Shenzou rocket as I plan to put on a space exhibition at my local museum and would love to include China in the field of space exploration. I am really excited to hear about China's planned moon probe.

Do you know of anywhere that might help me?


Best Wishes,
David Stephenson


Dear David,

We are glad to know that you are interested in China's space program. Our website has kept a close watch on the updated development of the program. You can find an abundance of materials regarding the space program by using key words in the website's search engine. Here we would like to give you a brief introduction to China's space program. I hope the materials and pictures enclosed will be of some help for your space exhibition.

Timeline of China's Space Program

China formally launched its official space program in September 1992 and began to select its astronauts.

November 20 1999 the first experiment craft, Shenzhou I successfully launched

January 10 2001 the unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou II, returned safely to earth

March 25 2002 unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou III, launched and returned safely on April 1. This was the first craft to be fully equipped to carry men into space.

December 30 2002 the Shenzhou IV unmanned craft launched and is the highest caliber test craft in the Chinese space program to date.

The pictures we sent to you are of the Shenshou IV craft. According to China's space authority the assessment of Shenzhou IV's flight showed it reached the standard of carrying men to space.

According to the person responsible for China's manned spacecraft program, the launch date of Shenzhou V, the country's first manned spacecraft is expected to be around November 2003. Now the "Shenzhou V" has entered the stage of assembling and testing, with most scientific equipment on board having been checked and accepted.

Now the state has selected 14 astronauts of which only one or two will finally take part in the maiden flight. According to requirements, these astronauts are all under 30 years of age with a flying time of over 1000 hours, and they all have a stature of 1.7 meters (5.57 feet), weighing 65 kg (143 lb). The spaceflight suits have been finished, each weighing about 10 kg (22 lb). Different to previous unmanned craft, "Shenzhou V" will see less experiment equipment and instruments on board in order to spare more room for astronaut activity and scientific observation.

The carrier rocket for China's manned space program is the "Long March II F" which is currently the highest, heaviest and most powerful rocket in the space program in China.

Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, in China's Gansu Province, is the site of the launch cabinet system and testing site for the spacecraft and rockets on the program.

The editors

(China.org.cn March 18, 2003)

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