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Chinese President Hails China's Latest Space Mission As "Glorious And Sacred"

posted 11 Jun 2013, 02:21 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 11 Jun 2013, 02:22 ]

Chinese President Xi Jinping personally sends off three astronauts ahead of the launch of the Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan spaceport.

JIUQUAN SATELLITE LAUNCH CENTREGANSU PROVINCECHINA (JUNE 11, 2013)  (CCTV) -  Chinese President Xi Jinping hailed China's latest space mission "glorious and sacred" when he sent off the three astronauts ahead of the launch on Tuesday (June 11), state media reported.

"This carries the space dream of the Chinese nation, and shows the bravery of the Chinese people. You made us, as Chinese people, feel proud of ourselves. The mission is both glorious and sacred. I am confident in your completing the mission successfully, and I wish you success and look forward to your triumphant return," Xi said.

A Changzheng-2F carrier rocket is scheduled to blast off from the remote Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi desert in China's far west at 5:38 p.m. (0938 GMT), putting into orbit the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft and the three astronauts onboard.

Once in orbit, the craft will dock with the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) 1, a trial space laboratory module, and the two male and one female astronauts will carry out various experiments and test the module's systems during the 15-day mission.

Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng, commander of the mission, said his team is determined to have a successful outcome.

"We are determined to obey orders, and listen to the instructions and operate meticulously to fulfill the mission successfully," Nie said.

China is still far from catching up with the established space superpowers, theUnited States and Russia.

But the Shenzhou 10 mission will be the latest show of China's growing prowess in space and comes while budget restraints and shifting priorities have held back U.S. manned space launches.

It will be China's fifth manned space mission since 2003.

China also plans an unmanned moon landing and deployment of a moon rover. Scientists have raised the possibility of sending a man to the moon, but not before 2020.