|Space Travel 101: Fundamentals of Space Travel|
This was the People’s Republic of China’s first manned flight. Liwei Yang was the first Chinese man in space.
On October 15, 2003, the People’s Republic of China became the third nation to put people into space with the launch of its first manned flight, Shenzhou 5. The Shenzhou 5 was launched on a Long March 2F rocket from Juiquan spaceport in the Gobi Desert. Although the launch was not televised live, it was shown later as a symbol of China’s prestige. Liwei Yang, the first “taikonaut,” stayed aboard the Shenzhou 5 for 21 hours during 14 orbits of the Earth. On returning, he became a national hero.
The Shenzhou 5 was one of a series of spacecraft that China launched into space to further its space program. The Shenzhou was modeled after the Russian Soyuz spacecraft, with some major modifications. It contained seats for three people, with only one being used by Liwei.