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A look back at Chinese milestones in space


10-17-2016 07:03 BJT

Full coverage: China Tiangong-2 Space Lab Launch

Following the successful launch of the Tiangong-2 space module in early September, China is now gearing up for the departure of its sixth crewed space mission, the Shenzhou-11. While the whole of China is waiting to see who will be aboard -- and will ultimately take up residency on Tiangong-2.

Yang Liwei was the first Chinese national in space. On October 15th, 2003, the Shenzhou-5 spacecraft took him there. The 21-hour mission made him the first man to make a solo journey into space, who was neither American nor Soviet or Russian.

Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng formed the first two-man mission. They were aboard the Shenzhou-6 on October 12th, 2005. They spent more than 115 hours in orbit.

There were three astronauts on China's third manned space mission. On September 25th, 2008, Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haipeng were on the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft. Indeed, Zhai became the first Chinese national to walk in space. The three astronauts stayed out there for nearly 70 hours.

In mid-2012, three Chinese astronauts -- including the country's first female -- were launched. They were aboard the Shenzhou-9 and completed China's first manned spacecraft docking, with the Tiangong-1 space lab. It was also Jing Haipeng's second space mission.

Just one year later, the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft sent up three astronauts. Nie Haisheng completed his second mission after the Shenzhou-6 eight years previous. Wang Yaping, China's second female astronaut, presented a physics lecture to students by a live television broadcast.

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