Shenzhou Program

The Shenzhou program (Chinese: 神舟; pinyin: Shénzhōu) is a manned spaceflight initiative by China. The program put the first Chinese citizen, Yang Liwei, into orbit on 15 October 2003.

Development began in 1992, under the name of Project 921-1. The Chinese National Manned Space Program was given the designation Project 921 with Project 921-1 as its first significant goal. The plan called for a manned launch in October 1999, prior to the new millennium.

The first four unmanned test flights happened in 1999, 2001 and 2002. These were followed with another manned launch on 12 October 2005. It is launched on the Long March 2F from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The command center of the mission is the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center. The China Manned Space Engineering Office provides engineering and administrative support for the manned Shenzhou missions.

The name is variously translated as "Divine Craft", "Divine Vessel" or similar, but is also a reference to a literary name for China with the same pronunciation (神州; literally "Divine Land").

Read more about Shenzhou Program:  History, Shenzhou Spacecraft, Planned Missions

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