President Hu hails successful launch of Shenzhou V

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

"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," said Hu, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).

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, the State Council and the Central Military Commission and CMC chairman Jiang Zemin.

China's first manned space vehicle, Shenzhou-5, was launched at 9:00 and moved into the preset orbit at about 9:10, carrying Lieutenant Colonel Yang Liwei, the first Chinese astronaut in the outer space.

The president was present at the launch site for Shenzhou-5. Also present were Party and state leaders Huang Ju and Wu Guanzheng. The group left Beijing for the launch immediately after the third plenary session of the 15th CPC Central Committee concluded Tuesday afternoon. At night, they heard reports about the preparations for the historic launch.

On the early morning of Wednesday, a ceremony was held at the Astronaut Apartment, known as "Wen Tian Ge" (Sky-Inquiring Pavilion), to mark the departure of a three-member team charged with carrying out the country's first space mission. The leaders had a meeting with these astronauts.

"Shenzhou-5 is going to be launched," said Hu. "This will be a great moment you have been expecting and, in fact, the entire Chinese people, the people of all our ethnic groups, have been expecting."

He called Lieutenant Colonel Yang Liwei a "warrior" to probe the outer space on behalf of China, bearing the heavy trust of themotherland and the people to realize the "millennial dream" of theChinese nation. He asked Yang to be cool-headed, staunch and courageous in performing this "glorious, sacred mission".

"We are waiting for your triumphant return," the president said.

Yang replied that he would work with high concentration while aboard the spacecraft, and would ensure that every movement of hiswould go without a hitch. He pledged to "live up to the expectations of the motherland and the people."

State leaders Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Li Changchun and Luo Gan viewed the launch at the mission control center in Beijing.

People's Daily Online ---