On 15 October, amid outpouring of legitimate national pride, China became only the third country to launch a man into space and return him safely to Earth. Shenzhuo V (Divine Vessel V) took off from the Jiuquan satellite launch-pad in the Gobi desert, spent 21 hours in space, orbited the Earth 14 times and left an unmanned module in the orbit before landing on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia.
With this launch, Lt-Colonel Yang Liwei of the Chinese Air Force becomes the first Chinese astronaut and a national space hero. The Chinese space program, of which the man’s flight is but a part, aims at helping China acquire better satellite communications, broadcasting facilities, weather forecasting and Earth observation missions – all of them with a dual civilian and military use. China is also keen to develop its own satellite-driven global positioning system as a rival to the US’ GPS.
Before boarding the spacecraft, Yang vowed not to “… disappoint the Chinese people and the motherland”, adding: “I will complete each movement with total concentration. And I will gain honour for the People’s Liberation Army and for the Chinese nation.”
Lt-Colonel Yang has certainly fulfilled his mission successfully and thus brought great honour to the Chinese people, as well as to progressive humanity all over the world, by his remarkable feat in space exploration. Through this successful mission, the Chinese people have served notice on US imperialism that the latter will not be allowed to either monopolise space exploration or militarise the space unchallenged.
On this brilliant success of theirs, Lalkar sends the Chinese people, the PLA, the CPC and the government of the PRC, its heartiest congratulations.