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Background: China manned space program

(CNTV)

20:15, June 13, 2012

In 1999, China started its manned space program called Project 921. The project had three ambitious phases, including the launching of a manned spacecraft, and the establishment of a space station.

Yang Liwei became China’s first astronaut in 2003, completing the first phase of Project 921. It was followed in 2008 with China’s first spacewalk with the launch of the Shenzhou 7 spacecraft.

The continued successes have garnered great attention across the world.

The Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center is where China’s first space laboratory, Tiangong-1 was tested last year. The craft, currently in orbit, will soon be home to its first three guests, including China’s first female astronaut.

Wu Bin, director of China Astronauts Center said, There are three astronauts for Shenzhou-9 launching. One is the commander, the other will take charge of manual control butt joint. And the female astronaut will be conducting space experiment operation.

A larger and more permanent space station will be the third and last phase of Project 921, which is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

Next will come lunar missions.

Chinese scientists started assembling a lunar probe in 2009. The lunar project has also provided great achievements for China’s space program. China has also established an advanced tracking and control system.

Eventually, China’s space ambitions hope to bring its probes and astronauts to Mars and beyond.

Reporter: “Exploring the universe is the dream of every human being. And China has made tremendous progress in recent years. With the launch of the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft, China’s dream will definitely come true in the near future."

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