Shenzhou Spacecraft in Chinasun / 2011-10-31
Shenzhou 8 is to be launched at 05:58, November 1. This spacecraft has made great achievements in aviation. Shenzhou is developed and operated to support China’s manned spacelight program. In Chinese, Shenzhou means divine craft, divine vessel of god, magic boat. Shenzhou’s pronunciation is like another word meaning divine province. In design it likes Soyuz Spacecraft of Russia. The difference is shenzhou is larger in size and the construction is creative.
China has engaged in human spacelight since 1968. Not until 1973 did China decide a projected launch date. In 1970 China launched a satellite and decided to develop aircraft industry. But because of funds and regulations of government, China gave up this plan. The first unmanned test flights happened in 1999. Since then, three flights happened. The first unmanned flight was launched on November 19, 1999. The flight was called Shenzhou. This name was chosen by Jiang Zemin who was a chairman of China.
Let us look back all the Shenzhou spacecrafts in Chinese history.
Shenzhou 1 – November 19, 1999 – unmanned test flight
Shenzhou 2 – January 9, 2001 – carried animals
Shenzhou 3 – March 25, 2002 – carried a test dummy
Shenzhou 4 – December 29, 2002 – carried a test dummy and several science experiments
Shenzhou 5 – October 15, 2003 – 14 Earth orbits carrying Yang Liwei
Shenzhou 6 – October 12, 2005 – five day mission with Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng
Shenzhou 7 – September 25, 2008 – three man crew with Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haipeng; spacewalk performed by two crew members
Shenzhou 8 is to be launched. Hope it is a success.