Wednesday, October 15, 2003

China puts a man in orbit

A Long March 2F rocket today carried a one man Shenzhou 5 capsule, fairly closely based on a Russian Soyuz, into orbit, carrying military pilot Yang Liwei. The capsule is expected to remain in orbit for 14 orbits and 21 hours before re-entry and a parachute landing in inner Mongolia. The launch was not shown live on Chinese television, but was shown with a half hour delay, as the Chinese leadership feared embarassment if the launch was unsuccessful. Dale Amon at Samizdata has more to say, but as he predicted was likely, the western media does not appear to be treating it as a big story.

My compliments to the Chinese engineers here. A great achievement. May Mr Yang return safely to earth.

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