China first decided to undertake manned space travel in 1967, under President Mao Zidong and Premier Cou Enlay. The Shuguang spacecraft, modeled after the US Gemini shuttle, failed in the 1970s. The country then developed the Shincou shuttle, modeled on Russia’s Soyuz shuttle, and achieved its goal years later. The first unmanned test flight was made in 1999 with the Shinjou-1 shuttle.
On October 15, 2003, Chinese astronaut Yang Livey flew 21 hours in space with the “Shinjou-5” shuttle on October 15, 2003, making his country’s first manned space expedition. Two manned expeditions were organized to the newly established space station in 2021 and one this year, and a new expedition is planned for next month. Today, China is the only country other than the US and Russia that has the capacity and experience to make manned space travel.
China is Leading the Space Race!
This year, the Chinese government completed the assembly of the main skeleton of its station in Earth orbit, adding two laboratory modules. It also organized two cargo flights and one manned flight to the station. The second manned mission is scheduled for next month. Launching satellites almost every week this year, China is constantly improving its infrastructure in orbit. In addition to earth and ocean observation satellites with remote sensing features, satellites for communication and intelligence purposes, it is also building a satellite network for the BeiDou positioning system, a rival and alternative to the US Global Positioning System (GPS).
China, which continues space exploration with exploration vehicles still active on the Moon and Mars, is planning exploration missions to Venus, Jupiter and the Asteroid Belt. In addition to optical and X-ray telescopes, the country, which has developed the world’s largest radio telescope FAST, is increasing its capacity in the field of space research with ground and space telescopes. China, which has conducted firing tests of two new generation rocket engines with heavy carrier and reusable features, has also made serious progress in the development of launch and transportation vehicles.