Shenzhou 5
Shenzhou 5 — was the first human spaceflight
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

 mission of the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 (PRC), launched on October 15, 2003. The Shenzhou spacecraft
Shenzhou spacecraft
Shenzhou is a spacecraft developed and operated by the People's Republic of China to support its manned spaceflight program. The name is variously translated as "Divine Craft," "Divine Vessel of God," "Magic Boat" or similar and is also homophonous with an ancient name for China...

 was launched on a Long March 2F
Long March 2F
The Long March 2F , also known as the CZ-2F, LM-2F and Shenjian, is a Chinese manned orbital carrier rocket, part of the Long March rocket family. Designed to launch manned Shenzhou spacecraft, the Long March 2F is a man-rated two-stage version of the Long March 2E rocket, which in turn was based...

 launch vehicle. There had been four previous flights of unmanned Shenzhou missions since 1999. China became the third country in the world to have independent human spaceflight capability after the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 (later, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

) and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...



Mission parameters

  • Mass: 7,790 kg
  • Perigee: 332 km
  • Apogee: 336 km
  • Inclination: 42.4°
  • Period: 91.2 minutes
  • NSSDC ID: 2003-045A


The launch was widely heralded in the official Chinese state media with newspapers devoting far more space to the launch than any recent event. While the Chinese media portrayed the launch as a triumph for Chinese science and technology and a milestone for Chinese nationalism
Chinese nationalism
Chinese nationalism , sometimes synonymous with Chinese patriotism refers to cultural, historiographical, and political theories, movements and beliefs that assert the idea of a cohesive, unified Chinese people and culture in a unified country known as China...

, it has also been pointed out in both Chinese and Western media that Yang Liwei showed the flag of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 in addition to the flag of the People's Republic of China. The state media also reported that crop seeds from Taiwan
Political status of Taiwan
The controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan hinges on whether Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu should remain effectively independent as territory of the Republic of China , become unified with the territories now governed by the People's Republic of China , or formally declare...

 were brought aboard the spacecraft.

General Secretary
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
The General Secretary of the Communist Party of China , officially General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, is the highest ranking official within the Communist Party of China, a standing member of the Politburo and head of the Secretariat...

 and President
President of the People's Republic of China
The President of the People's Republic of China is a ceremonial office and a part of State organs under the National People's Congress and it is the head of state of the People's Republic of China . The office was created by the 1982 Constitution...

 Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

, in an official celebration at the Great Hall of the People
Great Hall of the People
The Great Hall of the People is located at the western edge of Tiananmen Square, Beijing, People's Republic of China, and is used for legislative and ceremonial activities by the People's Republic of China and the Communist Party of China. It functions as the People's Republic of China's...

, hailed China's success in launching its first manned spacecraft into orbit, describing it as "an honor for our great motherland, an indicator for the initial victory of the country's first manned space flight and for an historic step taken by the Chinese people in their endeavor to surmount the peak of the world's science and technology."

Hu added, "the Party and the people will never forget those who have set up this outstanding merit in the space industry for the motherland, the people and the nation." He also expressed congratulations and respect to specialists and people who have contributed to China's space mission development on behalf of the CPC Central Committee
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China is the highest authority within the Communist Party of China. Its approximately 350 members and alternates are selected once every five years by the National Party Congress....

, the State Council and the Central Military Commission
Central Military Commission
A Central Military Commission or National Defense Commission is an organisation typical of Communist one-party states, responsible for supervising the nation's armed forces....


The launch was met with praise from around the world. For example, Prime Minister
Prime Minister of Japan
The is the head of government of Japan. He is appointed by the Emperor of Japan after being designated by the Diet from among its members, and must enjoy the confidence of the House of Representatives to remain in office...

 Junichiro Koizumi
Junichiro Koizumi
is a Japanese politician who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2001 to 2006. He retired from politics when his term in parliament ended.Widely seen as a maverick leader of the Liberal Democratic Party , he became known as an economic reformer, focusing on Japan's government debt and the...

 of Japan called the launch "a great feat". United States President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 congratulated Chinese President Hu and wished China continued success. U.S. State Department
United States Department of State
The United States Department of State , is the United States federal executive department responsible for international relations of the United States, equivalent to the foreign ministries of other countries...

 spokesman said that the United States wished to "applaud China's success in becoming only the third country to launch people into space".
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe
Sean O'Keefe
Sean O'Keefe is the CEO of EADS North America, a subsidiary of the European aerospace firm EADS, a former Administrator of NASA, and former chancellor of Louisiana State University . O'Keefe is also a former member of the board of directors of DuPont...

 called Shenzhou 5 an "important achievement in human exploration" and wished China "a continued safe human space flight program."

The spacecraft has since featured prominently in festivities and celebrations not only in China but also in foreign countries, such as official North Korean commemorative stamps showing the first Chinese manned spacecraft alongside the DPRK's first satellite Kwangmyŏngsŏng-1
The Kwangmyŏngsŏng programme is a class of experimental satellites developed by North Korea. The name Kwangmyŏngsŏng The Kwangmyŏngsŏng programme is a class of experimental satellites developed by North Korea. The name Kwangmyŏngsŏng The Kwangmyŏngsŏng programme is a class of experimental...


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