|Chinese senior officials including Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang, State Councilor Liu Yandong, vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou, all of whom are members of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, congratulate aerospace engineers after watching live broadcast of the return of the Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft at the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 17, 2011. China's Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang delivered a congratulatory note from the central authorities, celebrating the success of the country's first-ever space rendezvous and docking mission. The Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft returned to the Earth Thursday evening after completing the country's first docking mission with the Tiangong-1 space lab module. (Xinhua/Yao Dawei)
BEIJING, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- China's Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang on Thursday evening delivered a congratulatory note from the central authorities, celebrating the success of the country's first-ever space rendezvous and docking mission.
The successful rendezvous and docking between the target orbiter Tiangong-1 and the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft marks a significant breakthrough in China's space docking technology, and it is also a great leap in China's aerospace technology, reads the note sent by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the State Council and the Central Military Commission.
It is an important milestone in the history of China's manned space program, and a landmark achievement in China's pursuit in building a country of innovation, reads the note.
Shortly before Zhang delivered the note at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, Chang Wanquan, commander-in-chief of China's manned space program, announced that the space rendezvous and docking mission fully succeeded.
Launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Nov. 1, the Shenzhou-8 landed in north China Thursday evening. The spacecraft conducted two docking tests with the Tiangong-1, which was launched from Jiuquan on Sept. 29.
The safe return of the Shenzhou-8 marked the end of the 49-day space docking mission, which will pave the way for the country's establishment of a permanent manned space station around 2020.
Other Senior officials, including State Councilor Liu Yandong, vice chairmen of the Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong and Xu Caihou -- all of whom are members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee -- also watched the return of the spacecraft at the control center.
Special Report: Shenzhou-8's docking mission with Tiangong-1