|Launch:||October 15, 2003 01:00 UTC|
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
|Landing:||October 15, 2003 22:28 UTC|
|Duration:||21 hours 28 min|
It was launched at 09:00 (UTC +8) from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, a launch base in the Gobi Desert in Gansu Province, entering orbit 343 km above Earth at 09:10 (UTC +8) with astronaut Yang Liwei (杨利伟), the 38 year-old Lieutenant Colonel in the People's Liberation Army and former fighter pilot. The launch made the PRC the third country to independently launch a person into space, after the Soviet Union and the United States. The launch of the Shenzhou is the result of a manned space program which began in 1992.
Neither the launch nor the reentry was televised live. Some believe that it was due to government fears that a disaster could create an embarrassment, but news appeared on Chinese Central Television shortly after both events.
The level of secrecy associated with the Shenzhou V mission lays between American and Soviet practices. In contrast to American practice, foreign journalists were not admitted and live television was not broadcast. However, in contrast to Soviet practice, the fact that a launch was about to occur was announced days in advance and photos and video from the mission were available within hours of launch and reentry.
It made 14 orbits and landed 21 hours after launch. The Chinese manned spacecraft re-entered Earth's atmosphere at 06:04 (UTC +8) on 16 October 2003 (22:04 UTC 15 Oct 2003), its parachute opening normally and the astronaut saying he was feeling fine. The landing happened at 06:28 (UTC +8), just 4.8 kilometers from the planned landing site in Inner Mongolia, according to the government. The orbital module of the spacecraft stayed in orbit, and is scheduled to continue with automated experiments for 6 months.
President Hu Jintao, who was on-site at the Jiuquan Launch Center, hailed China's success in hurling its first manned spacecraft into the orbit, describing it as "an honor for our great motherland, an indicator for the initial victory of the country's first manned space flight and for an historic step taken by the Chinese people in their endeavor to surmount the peak of the world's science and technology."
Hu added, "the Party and the people will never forget those who have set up this outstanding merit in the space industry for the motherland, the people and the nation." He also expressed congratulations and respect to specialists and people who have contributed to China's space mission development on behalf of the CPC Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission (CMC) and its chairperson Jiang Zemin.''
While the elder statesman Jiang, 77, was lauded by Hu, some analysts have noted that the retired party chief and state president - currently maintaining some influence as CMC chief - has maintained a rather low profile during the flight, prompting more speculation that Jiang's influence on Chinese politics has been waning. Although Hu Jintao mentioned Jiang's name in congratulating the crew, it was considered significant that Jiang himself did not personally congratulate anyone involved with the spacecraft. In addition, throughout the entire flight there were no pictures associating Jiang with Shenzhou 5, while pictures and text linking Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao with the launch figured prominently in the Chinese news media. This speculation was enhanced by the fact that the launch occurred immediately after a plenary session of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China at which Jiang had reportedly been lobbying for inclusion of his theory of Three Represents and property rights guarantees in the Chinese Constitution, both platforms being extremely controversial within the Party.
The control center in Beijing later declared China's first manned spacecraft mission to be successful after Yang Liwei emerged from his capsule.
There have been four previous flights of uncrewed Shenzhou missions since 1999.
|CPC Politburo Standing Committee members Wu Bangguo, 3rd left, Wen Jiabao, 4th left, Jia Qinglin, 2nd left, Zeng Qinghong, 5th left, Li Changchun, 1st left, and Luo Gan, 6th left, react to the launch of Shenzhou V.|
Shenzhou 5 was the first Chinese manned mission
|Space program of China||Next Mission: