Hu lauds historic space mission
( 2003-10-16 05:23) (China Daily)
President Hu Jintao hailed China's success in launching its first manned spacecraft into orbit yesterday, describing it as "an honour for our great motherland, an indicator for the initial victory of the country's first manned space flight and for a historic step taken by the Chinese people in their endeavour to surmount the peak of the world's science and technology.''
"The Party and the people will never forget those who have set up this outstanding merit in the space industry for the motherland, the people and the nation,'' said Hu, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and vice- chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC).
He also extended congratulations and respect to the specialists and other personnel who have contributed to China's space development on behalf of the CPC Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission and CMC chairman Jiang Zemin.
China's first manned space vehicle, Shenzhou-V, was launched at 9:00 am and achieved its pre-set orbit at about 9:10 am, carrying Lieutenant Colonel Yang Liwei, the first China-trained astronaut to travel to outer space.
The president was present at the launch site in the Gobi Desert, accompanied by some Party and state leaders.
The group left Beijing for the launch immediately after the Third Plenary Session of the 16th CPC Central Committee concluded Tuesday afternoon.
Early yesterday, a ceremony was held at the Astronaut Apartment, known as Wen Tian Ge (Sky-Inquiring Pavilion), to mark the departure of a three-member team charged with carrying out the country's first space mission. The leaders had a meeting with the astronauts.
"Shenzhou-V is going to be launched,'' said Hu. "This will be the great moment you have been expecting and, in fact, the entire Chinese people, the people of all our ethnic groups, have been expecting.''
He called Lieutenant Colonel Yang Liwei a "warrior'' for journeying to outer space on behalf of China, bearing the deep trust of the motherland and the people to realize the "millennial dream'' of China.
Hu asked Yang to be cool-headed, staunch and courageous in performing this "glorious, sacred mission.''
"We are waiting for your triumphant return,'' the president said.
Yang replied that he would work with high concentration while aboard the spacecraft to ensure his journey would go without a hitch. He pledged to "live up to the expectations of the motherland and the people.''
State leaders Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Zeng Qinghong, Li Changchun and Luo Gan viewed the launch at the mission control centre in Beijing.
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