Over the past decade, China has made great achievements and experienced a number of breakthroughs in its manned space program. China successfully launched its first unmanned space craft-Shenzhou-1 in 1999. Four years later it sent the country’s first astronaut into space on the Shenzhou 5, making China the third country to independently complete a manned space flight. In 2008, China’s Shenzhou-7 blasted off on a Long March II-F carrier rocket with three astronauts on board --Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng. But they didn’t stay on board. The team’s successful space walk, made China the third country in the world to conduct an activity performed in space outside a spacecraft.
China launched its first space station, Tiangong 1 in 2011. And successfully landed the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, and its three person crew in 2013. That mission lasted 15 days in orbit, and included a successful docking with the Tiangong-1 Space Laboratory. To date, China has successfully put eight astronauts into orbit in five different missions. China’s manned space program is now entering its second decade, with more ambitious plans ahead.