ĦĦĦĦJIUQUAN, Gansu, Dec. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- Senior Chinese leaders watched the
launch of China's fourth unmanned spacecraft "ShenzhenIV" early Monday morning
at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.
included China's top legislator Li Peng, Vice-Premier Wu Bangguo, and Jia
Qinglin. Wu and Jia are members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau
of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.
ĦĦĦĦOther high-ranking officials at the site were Cao Gangchuan, vice-chairman
of the Central Military Commission; Song Jian, vice-chairman of the National
Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference; and Li
Jinai, head of the General Armament Department of the People's Liberation Army.
ĦĦĦĦA "Long March II F" carrier rocket blasted off at 00:40 a.m. (Beijing Time)
and carried the "Shenzhou IV" into a preset orbit.
ĦĦĦĦAfter watching the lift-off, Li Peng extended his congratulations on the
successful launch to scientists and engineers, and military officers involved in
ĦĦĦĦThe successful blast-off was of great significance as it came just nine
months after the launch of "Shenzhou III" in March this year, said Li, chairman
of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's top
ĦĦĦĦLi Peng said the success showed China's manned space science and technology
was becoming increasingly mature, and it also indicated a marked improvement in
the country's overall national strength, scientific and technological vigor and
ĦĦĦĦIt also represented a massive impetus to China's manned space program, and
encouragement to people of all walks of life in the country, said Li.
ĦĦĦĦHe went on to say that China should continue its efforts as planned to make
its due contribution to the development and exploration of outer space for
ĦĦĦĦHe called on those involved in the space program to work hard for its
ĦĦĦĦBefore the launch, Li and other senior leaders were briefed about the space
program by Li Jinai, commander in chief of the program. They also inspected the
command and control center in Jiuquan, the general assembling and testing plant,
and the launch site.
ĦĦĦĦChina's "Shenzhou" spacecraft made its maiden voyage to outer space on Nov.
ĦĦĦĦAccording to the country's manned flight program underway since 1992, a
number of unmanned test flights will be launched before Chinese astronauts are
sent into space.
ĦĦĦĦExperts say this is one of the important test missions of the whole
ĦĦĦĦThe "Shenzhou IV" spaceship was developed by the Chinese Academy of Space
Technology and the Shanghai Aerospace Technology Research Institute, both under
the China Aerospace Science and Technology Company Group, in cooperation with
other institutions. Enditem