Space Hero- China’s First Man in Space

On October 15th, 2003 Yang Liwei rocketed into space aboard the aboard Shenzhou-5. This event marked the entry of China into an elite group, consisting only of Russia and the United States, who had the capability to launch human beings off the planet. Yang’s name therefore was placed in history next to those of Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard.

Today on Discovery Enterprise we take a behind the scenes look at China’s space program and at the selection of China’s Space hero Yang Liwei.


China’s First Man in Space goes behind the closed doors of China’s “Space City” to show the astronaut candidates’ rigorous training and testing regime. The final decision on which candidate would ride the rocket was taken only a few hours before launch. The last three didn’t know who would be selected to fly into space – and into history – until it was time to suit up. Cameras caught the final minutes until history was made. China’s manned space programme began in secrecy. There was no live coverage of the launch. The first time the Chinese public knew of the event was a half-hour after they had a man in space. Even his name was a mystery. But pictures were taken and now they can be shown. China took a great leap forward when it launched a man named China’s manned space programme was launched in 1992. It was an ambitious programme. Only two nations – the Soviet Union and the United States – had successfully launched a man into space. China was determined to be the third.


Space Hero: China’s First Man in Space

You can see the full documentary on Factual TV.

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