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Yang Liwei

Yang Liwei

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Encyclopedia
Yáng Lìwěi is a Chinese
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...

 major general and military pilot and a CNSA
China National Space Administration
The China National Space Administration is the national space agency of the People's Republic of China responsible for the national space program. It is responsible for planning and development of space activities...

 astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

. He was the first man sent into space by the Chinese space program
Chinese space program
The space program of the People's Republic of China is directed by the China National Space Administration . Its technological roots can be traced back to the late 1950s, when the People's Republic began a rudimentary ballistic missile program in response to perceived American threats...

 and his mission, Shenzhou 5
Shenzhou 5
Shenzhou 5  — was the first human spaceflight mission of the People's Republic of China , launched on October 15, 2003. The Shenzhou spacecraft was launched on a Long March 2F launch vehicle. There had been four previous flights of unmanned Shenzhou missions since 1999...

, made China the third country to independently send people into space.

Background


Liwei was born in the Suizhong
Suizhong
Suizhong County is a county of the city of Huludao, Liaoning province, People's Republic of China. It is located on the northern coast of the Bohai Sea and lies in the southwest part of the province, on the northeastern border of Hebei. The county has an area of , a population of 630,000, and is...

 county of Huludao
Huludao
Huludao is a prefecture-level city in southwestern Liaoning Province, China. It is one of the two principal cities in the Liaoxi Corridor . Known as Jinxi until 1994, Huludao has a total area of 10,415 square kilometers and a population of 2.87 million, of which some 531,000 live in the city proper...

 city in the Liaoning Province, an industrial area in Northeast China
Northeast China
Northeast China, historically known in English as Manchuria, is a geographical region of China, consisting of the three provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang. The region is sometimes called the Three Northeast Provinces...

. His mother was a teacher, and his father was an accountant at a state agricultural firm. Yang Liwei's wife is also a People's Liberation Army
People's Liberation Army
The People's Liberation Army is the unified military organization of all land, sea, strategic missile and air forces of the People's Republic of China. The PLA was established on August 1, 1927 — celebrated annually as "PLA Day" — as the military arm of the Communist Party of China...

 (PLA) officer, with whom he has a son.

In 1983, he was admitted to the Number 2 PLAAF flight academy (空军第2飞行学院) and graduated four years later. He participated in the screening process for astronauts in 1996.

In the PLAAF, he logged 1350 hours of flight time as a fighter pilot before he went to space training.

Spaceflight career


Yang was selected as an astronaut candidate in 1998 and has trained for space flight since then. He was chosen from the final pool of 13 candidates to fly on China's first manned space mission. A former fighter pilot in the Aviation Military Unit of the PLA, he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel
Lieutenant colonel
Lieutenant colonel is a rank of commissioned officer in the armies and most marine forces and some air forces of the world, typically ranking above a major and below a colonel. The rank of lieutenant colonel is often shortened to simply "colonel" in conversation and in unofficial correspondence...

 at the time of his mission. He was promoted to full Colonel
Colonel
Colonel , abbreviated Col or COL, is a military rank of a senior commissioned officer. It or a corresponding rank exists in most armies and in many air forces; the naval equivalent rank is generally "Captain". It is also used in some police forces and other paramilitary rank structures...

 on October 20, 2003. According to the Youth Daily, the decision had been made in advance of his spaceflight, but Yang was not made aware of it.

He was launched into space aboard his Shenzhou 5
Shenzhou 5
Shenzhou 5  — was the first human spaceflight mission of the People's Republic of China , launched on October 15, 2003. The Shenzhou spacecraft was launched on a Long March 2F launch vehicle. There had been four previous flights of unmanned Shenzhou missions since 1999...

spacecraft atop 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...

 rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is a People's Republic of China space vehicle launch facility .The facility is part of Dongfeng Aerospace City , and is located in the Gobi desert, Ejin Banner , Alxa League , Inner Mongolia, situated about 1,600 km from Beijing.- History :It was founded in 1958,...

 at 09:00 CST (01:00 UTC
Coordinated Universal Time
Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose...

) on October 15, 2003. Prior to his launch almost nothing was made public about the Chinese astronaut candidates; his selection for the Shenzhou 5 launch was only leaked to the media one day before the launch.

Yang Liwei has reported the apparition of abnormal vibrations 120 seconds after launch, he described as "very uncomfortable". As a consequence, corrective measures were swiftly taken to the design of the following CZ-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...

 carrier rocket for the Shenzhou-6.

Yang punctuated his journey with regular updates on his condition—variations of "I feel good", the last coming as the capsule floated to the ground after re-entry. He spoke to his wife as the Shenzhou 5 started its eighth circuit around the Earth, assuring her from space: "I feel very good, don't worry". He ate specially designed packets of shredded pork with garlic, Kung Pao chicken
Kung Pao chicken
Gong Bao chicken , a late Qing Dynasty official. Born in Guizhou, Ding served as head of Shandong province and later as governor of Sichuan province. His title was Gōng Bǎo , or palatial guardian. The name "Kung Pao" chicken is derived from this title....

 and eight treasure rice, along with Chinese herbal tea
Tea
Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world...

. In the middle of the journey, state television broadcast footage of Yáng waving a small flag of the People's Republic of China and that 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...

 inside his capsule.

State media said Yang's capsule was supplied with a gun, a knife and tent in case he landed in the wrong place.

Yang's craft landed in the grasslands of the Chinese region of Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

 at around 06:30 CST on October 16, 2003 (22:00 UTC), having completed 14 orbit
Orbit
In physics, an orbit is the gravitationally curved path of an object around a point in space, for example the orbit of a planet around the center of a star system, such as the Solar System...

s and travelled more than 600,000 km
1 E8 m
To help compare different orders of magnitude, this page lists lengths starting at 108 metres .Distances shorter than 108 metres* 102 Mm — Diameter of HD 149026 b, an unusually dense Jovian planet...

. Yang left the capsule about 15 minutes after landing, and was congratulated by Premier
Premier of the People's Republic of China
The Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , sometimes also referred to as the "Prime Minister" informally, is the Leader of the State Council of the People's Republic of China , who is the head of government and holds the highest-ranking of the Civil service of the...

 Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao
Wen Jiabao is the sixth and current Premier and Party secretary of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, serving as China's head of government and leading its cabinet. In his capacity as Premier, Wen is regarded as the leading figure behind China's economic policy...

. But the astronaut's bleeding lips seen in the official images broadcasted sparked rumours of a hard landing confirmed by accounts of personnel present at the landing site.

Although the first Chinese citizen in space, Yang Liwei is not the first person of Chinese origin in space. Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

-born Taylor Wang
Taylor Wang
Taylor Gun-Jin Wang is an American scientist and in 1985, became the first ethnic Chinese person to go into space. While an employee of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Wang was a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Challenger mission STS-51-B.-Early life and education:With ancestry in...

 flew on Space Shuttle
Space Shuttle
The Space Shuttle was a manned orbital rocket and spacecraft system operated by NASA on 135 missions from 1981 to 2011. The system combined rocket launch, orbital spacecraft, and re-entry spaceplane with modular add-ons...

 mission STS-51-B
STS-51-B
STS 51-B was the seventeenth flight of NASA's Space Shuttle program, and the seventh flight of Space Shuttle Challenger. The launch of Challenger on 29 April 1985 was delayed by 2 minutes and 18 seconds, due to a launch processing failure. Challenger was initially rolled out to the pad to launch on...

 in 1985. Wang, however, had become a United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 citizen in 1975. Shannon Lucid
Shannon Lucid
Shannon Matilda Wells Lucid is an American biochemist and a NASA astronaut. At one time, she held the record for the longest duration stay in space by an American, as well as by a woman...

 was also born in Shanghai to American missionary parents, and Apollo 8
Apollo 8
Apollo 8, the second manned mission in the American Apollo space program, was the first human spaceflight to leave Earth orbit; the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body; and the first crewed voyage to return to Earth from another celestial...

astronaut William A. Anders was born in Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

, but neither were of Chinese ethnicity. There have also been a number of American-born Chinese
American-born Chinese
An American-born Chinese or "ABC" is a stereotype that describes a person born in the United States of Chinese ethnic descent, a category of Chinese American. Many are second-generation born after the U.S. Immigration Act of 1965 were free from limits on immigration from East Asia...

 astronauts sent into space by NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

.

Yang visited Hong Kong on October 31, 2003, holding talks and sharing his experiences during a six-day stay in the territory. The visit coincided with an exhibition that featured his reentry capsule, spacesuit and leftover food from his 21 hour mission. On November 5, he travelled to Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

.

On November 7, Yang received the title of "Space Hero" from Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005...

, the Chairman of the PRC 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....

 (CMC). He also received a badge of honour during a ceremony 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...

. Russia awarded him the Gagarin medal. The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Chinese University of Hong Kong
The Chinese University of Hong Kong is a research-led university in Hong Kong.CUHK is the only tertiary education institution in Hong Kong with Nobel Prize winners on its faculty, including Chen Ning Yang, James Mirrlees, Robert Alexander Mundell and Charles K. Kao...

 has given Yáng an honorary doctorate.

The asteroid
Asteroid
Asteroids are a class of small Solar System bodies in orbit around the Sun. They have also been called planetoids, especially the larger ones...

 21064 Yangliwei
21064 Yangliwei
21062 Yangliwei is an asteroid named after Chinese astronaut Yang Liwei. It was discovered in 1991 and named in 2005.-References:*...

 and the fossil bird
Fossil birds
Birds are generally believed to have evolved from certain feathered theropod dinosaurs, and there is no real dividing line between birds and dinosaurs, except of course that some of the former survived the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event while the latter did not. For the purposes of this...

 Dalingheornis liweii are named after him.

Aftermath


In a similar move taken by 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....

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

 (with national space flight heroes Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Gagarin
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He was the first human to journey into outer space, when his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth on April 12, 1961....

 and John Glenn
John Glenn
John Herschel Glenn, Jr. is a former United States Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and United States senator who was the first American to orbit the Earth and the third American in space. Glenn was a Marine Corps fighter pilot before joining NASA's Mercury program as a member of NASA's original...

, respectively), an official decision to no longer assign him to spaceflight missions was made. Yang was promoted to Major General on July 22, 2008.

See also

  • Wan Hu
    Wan Hu
    According to legend, Wàn Hǔ was a minor Chinese official of the Ming dynasty who attempted to become the world's first recorded "astronaut". The crater Wan-Hoo on the far side of the Moon is named after him.-The Legend of Wan Hu:...

  • Taylor Wang
    Taylor Wang
    Taylor Gun-Jin Wang is an American scientist and in 1985, became the first ethnic Chinese person to go into space. While an employee of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Wang was a payload specialist on the Space Shuttle Challenger mission STS-51-B.-Early life and education:With ancestry in...

  • Space program of China
  • List of Chinese astronauts

External links