China's first manned spacecraft, the Shenzhou-5,
blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the
northwestern province of Gansu at 9 a.m. Oct.15 (Beijing
The spacecraft, atop a Long March II F rocket, was
piloted by Yang Liwei, 38, a lieutenant colonel of the
People's Liberation Army (PLA). Yang, a member of the PLA's
Astronauts Team, was trained at home.
mission, if successful, will make China the third nation to
send a man into outer space, following the former Soviet
Union and the United States.