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Space dream one step closer to reality
2013-06-27   审核人:


08:42, June 27, 2013

(From left) Astronauts Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Hai-sheng and Wang Yaping are welcomed after they return from a space mission and land in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region on Wednesday. Wu Yunsheng / For China Daily

Shenzhou X astronauts return in good health after 15 -day mission

With the safe return to Earth on Wednesday of three astronauts after a successful 15 -day mission , China moved a step closer to realizing its space dream , which includes operating a space station by 2020.

Wang Zhaoyao , director of the China Manned Space Agency , released a more detailed outline for the manned space program .

He said in Beijing the manned space program will launch the Tiangong- 2 space laboratory around 2015, and an experimental core space station module around 2018. The aim is to build a 60 -ton multimodule space station by 2020.

Between 2015 and 2020, a string of cargo and manned spacecraft will be launched to deliver supplies and transport astronauts to the space lab and space station , he said .

Wang did not say how much will be spent on the forthcoming missions , but said the Shenzhou X mission that ended on Wednesday took spending on the manned space program to 39 billion yuan ($6.35 billion ) since it was started in 1992.

He also said construction of a new launch site in Hainan province and development of two new types of launch vehicle both crucial elements in the space program ' s next stage have made smooth progress .

The new launch site ' s main infrastructure has been completed , including the testing laboratories for carrier rockets and spacecraft , Wang said .

The construction progress means that joint exercises and follow-up tasks can be carried out according to plan , he added .

Yuan Jie , deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp , said the new site will see the launch of two types of China ' s new-generation carrier rockets .

As the carrier rockets in service now cannot meet demand from the future manned space station , the large-thrust Long March- 5 carrier rocket , with the capacity of carrying a 20 -ton payload in near-Earth orbit , will send space station modules into orbit , he said .

Meanwhile , the medium-thrust Long March- 7 launch vehicle , with a carrying capacity of 13 tons in near-Earth orbit , will be used to send cargo spacecraft to the future manned space station , Yuan said .

" Development of both types of new launch vehicles is going smoothly . Their maiden flights are expected to be carried out during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011 - 15)," he said .

Astronaut Nie Haisheng waves to people outside the Shenzhou X re-entry capsule after a safe landing in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region at about 8 am on Wednesday. WU YUNSHENG / FOR CHINA DAILY

The three Shenzhou X astronauts ended their mission by touching down on the prairies of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region shortly after 8 am in windy weather .

After remaining in the re-entry capsule for 85 minutes to adjust to the Earth s gravity , crew commander Nie Haisheng , woman astronaut Wang Yaping and astronaut Zhang Xiaoguang were helped out of the capsule one by one by ground staff .

Sitting in a row in chairs , they smiled and waved to the TV cameras . All three are in good health after the country ' s longest manned space mission .

" It ' s good to be home ," Nie said , while Wang Yaping , China ' s first astronaut to deliver a lecture from space on the effects of weightlessness , said : " This mission made me realize two dreams my dream of flying to outer space , and my dream of being a teacher . If you have a dream , you can succeed ."

After a brief welcoming ceremony , the astronauts flew to Beijing on a chartered flight .

The completion of the Shenzhou- 10 and Tiangong- 1 mission has marked a staged success in achieving the second strategic goal of China ' s manned space program , Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli said Wednesday .

" The complete success of Tiangong- 1 and Shenzhou-X mission has further consolidated China ' s space rendezvous and docking expertise and marked a great staged success in achieving the second-phase target of the nation ' s manned space program ," Zhang said in a congratulatory letter read on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China , the State Council and the Central Military Commission .

Zhang watched the live broadcast of the return and recovery of Shenzhou- 10 spacecraft from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center Wednesday morning .

He said the completion of the mission also marked that China ' s manned space program has entered the new stage of space station construction .

People in Zaoyang, Hubei province, hail the landing of astronaut Nie Haisheng, who is from the city. Wang Hu / Xinhua

Space education

Wang Zhaoyao , the manned space agency ' s director , said the manned space program will organize more ground-based space-related educational activities in coming months . It will also stage more of these activities " in diversified fashion ", he said .

Such lectures may also be expanded , as China ' s tracking and data-relaying technologies can support longer lectures between space and Earth , he said .

The space lecture , the highlight of the Shenzhou X mission , has received positive feedback from various quarters .

Karl Bergquist , Europe ' s leading expert on China ' s space program , from the European Space Agency ' s International Relations Department , said it is very important to attract and inspire students , teaching them about various physical phenomena in outer space .

" I am sure there were many students who , after the lecture , went home thinking how they could be part of this great adventure , which is the exploration of the universe ," he said .

" It is also important to attract students to study engineering or scientific issues . A lecture like the one Ms Wang Yaping gave is certainly an important impetus in this process ," he said .

Leroy Chiao , a Chinese - American astronaut who stayed on the International Space Station for half a year , congratulated Wang Yaping and China ' s space program for taking the time and effort to inspire young people .

" Educational outreach is a very important part of the human spaceflight endeavor . ⋯ My hope is that the US and China can , and will , cooperate in space in the future . I believe it is mutually beneficial and will better relations between our two countries in other areas as well ," he said .

Exchange visits

Deng Yibing , director of the China Astronaut Research and Training Center , said China ' s manned space program is willing to explore new cooperation in fields including astronaut training and joint flights with other countries .

Astronauts from the US , Russia and Europe have been invited to visit China . In the past two years , astronaut centers in China and Europe have exchanged visits to experience short training courses , Deng said .

" We believe that more extensive exchanges could help deepen understanding between us and establish a better basis for more concrete cooperation in the future ," he said .

" China is willing to help train astronauts for other countries ," he added .

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