First Chinese Man in Space - Yang Liwei
October 16, 2003 was a great and glorious day for China, as the country successfully launched its first manned spacecraft, Shenzhou V, from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and sent its first astronaut to the space with the "Long March CZ-2 F" carrier rocket.
With the launch, China became the third country, after Russia and the United States, to has the ability to carry out the mannedspace flights . Yang Liwei ' name therefore was placed in history next to those of Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard.
Yang Liwei and His Family
Yang Liwei was born in 1965 in Suizhong County of Northeast China'sLiaoning Province. Yang's mother was a teacher, and his father was an accountant at a state agricultural firm.
Yang's older sisterr recalled that Yang's grades were average but he excelled in the sciences and was especially fond of playing with various kinds of electric apparatuses.
Yang has a very healthy body, partly due to the exercise he did in his childhood, As
In September 1983, Yang Liwei joined the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and entered the No. 8 Aviation College of the PLA Air Force. Yang graduated in 1987 with the equivalent of a bachelor's degree. In the winter of 1990, Yang married a woman ,named Zhang Yumei, and had a boy.
Space Hero Yang Liwei
In January 1998, Yang Liwei was selected as a member of the group of Chinese astronauts set to train to fly the Project 921 (later Shenzhou) spacecraft. He was one of 14 chosen from among 1,500 pilot candidates. The team underwent five years of rigorous physical, psychological, and technical training at the Astronaut Training Base inBeijing.
Yang Liwei noted the study was much more difficult than that in college. There were more than 30 subjects he had to have a well command of. Yang's English was not good, so in order to improveing in this area, he often called his wife from the astronaut station to serve ashis English learning partner. Practice makes perfect, at the exam, Yang got a score of 100 .
Besides some basic lessons in aviation dynamics, air dynamics, geophysics, meteorology, and astronomy, the astronauts also had to learn survival skills under extreme conditions in case their capsule landed anywhere on the earth, whether on land or at sea.
After a long- time of training, on September 20, 2003, the 14 astronauts began to exercise in the real Shenzhou-5 spacecraft at the Jiuquan Launch Center. One month later, Yang was selected as one of three finalists to be the country's first astronaut.
For the general public, it was still a question as to who would be the astronaut chosen to command the Shenzhou V,as Yang's selection for the spacecraft was only leaked only 6 hours before the launch.
On October 15, 2003,Yang was launched into space from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. In space, YangA completed 14 orbits and traveled more than 600,000 km, before finishing China's first manned space flight, and again standing on Chinese soil at 7:00am, on October 16, 2003.
On November 7, 2003, Yang received the title of "Space Hero" fromJiang Zemin, the former Chinese President and Chairman of the Central Military Council (CMC). He also received a badge of honour during a ceremony at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.
Other Astronauts with Chinese Connections
Although Yang was the first Chinese citizen to go into space aboard a Chinese spacecraft, there were other astronauts of Chinese origin or heritage who preceded him.
William Anders (one flight totaling, 6.13 days,Apollo 8), born inHong Kongon October 17, 1933, and indisputably the first person born in China to have orbited the moon.
Shannon Lucid, (five flights, totaling 223.12 days, STS-51-G, STS-34, STS-43, STS-58, STS-79), born inShanghaion January 14, 1943.
Taylor Gun-Jin Wang (one flight, totaling 7.01 days, STS-51-B), born in Shanghai on June 16, 1940 and, an American citizen since 1975.
Franklin Chang-Diaz (six flights, totaling 52.91 days, STS-61-C, STS-34, STS-46, STS-60, STS-75, STS-91), born in Costa Rica, with some Chinese ancestors despite considering himself a Hispanic-American.
Edward Tsang Lu (two flights, totaling 21.02 days: STS-84, STS-106), born in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1963.