Space Foundation News

Media Advisory – Statements on China's first manned space mission

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 15, 2003) — The following is an official statement of Elliot G. Pulham, president & chief executive officer of the Space Foundation, on today’s successful launch by China. The AP summary follows. “While today’s accomplishment may seem modest, China can now claim something that American, Russian and other space programs cannot: a well-defined human space flight program that is moving forward with committed funding and strong political support.” “Much of the technology advantage the U.S. enjoys can be attributed to its space programs. Europe, Japan and India have made significant gains on the U.S. in recent years, and now China joins the club. Unless America wishes to further cede its leadership in space, we need to take this launch as a very serious wake up call.” “Despite the relatively simple mission that was flown today, it would be a grave mistake to underestimate the importance of this event. Historians will be studying our collective national response for a long time to come.” China Launches Manned Space Mission GOBI DESERT, China (AP) – China launched its first manned space mission on Wednesday, becoming the third country in history to send a person into orbit – four decades after the former Soviet Union and the United States. With a column of smoke, the Shenzhou 5 craft cut across a bright, azure northwest China sky at exactly 9 a.m. Wednesday (9 p.m. Tuesday EDT) and went into orbit 10 minutes later. The official Xinhua News Agency immediately confirmed the launch and said the astronaut was air force Lt. Col. Yang Liwei, 38. For more, visit