China in Space pp 359-442 | Cite as

Manned flight

  • Brian Harvey
Part of the Springer Praxis Books book series (PRAXIS)


After exploring the idea of manned spaceflight in the 1970s with the Shuguang program, there was a 20-year hiatus before the Chinese government approved a new manned spaceflight program in 1992, project 921. This led to the development of the Shenzhou manned spacecraft and its origins and features (and counterproposals) are described here, as is the degree to which China used technology from other countries, such as Russia. This chapter narrates the precursor missions before manned flight (Shenzhou 1 to 4), the first manned flight (Shenzhou 5), the week-long flight of two astronauts (Shenzhou 6) and the first Chinese spaceflight by a three-man crew with the spacewalk by Zhai Zhigang (Shenzhou 7). These missions made China the third spacefaring nation in the world. The first space laboratory, Tiangong 1, was launched in 2011, which led to an unmanned rendezvous and docking test (Shenzhou 8) and a pair of two-week occupations (Shenzhou 9 and 10) which attracted the most attention for carrying China’s first two women in space, Liu Yang and Wang Yaping.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brian Harvey
    • 1
  1. 1.TempleogueIreland

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