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China's Space Program: An Overview

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Publication Date: October 2005

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RS21641

Topic: Science and technology (Astronomy and space science and technology)

Coverage: China

Abstract:

The People's Republic of China successfully completed its second human spaceflight mission on October 17, 2005. China is only the third country, after Russia and the United States, able to launch people into space. Its first human spaceflight was in 2003 when a single astronaut, or "taikonaut," made a flight lasting slightly less than a day. The 2005 flight lasted five days, and involved two taikonauts. As the United States embarks upon President Bush's "Vision for Space Exploration" to return astronauts to the Moon by 2020 and someday send them to Mars, some may view China's entrance into the human exploration of space as a competitive threat, while others may view China as a potential partner. This report will be updated as warranted.