October 16, 2003 was a great and glorious day for China, as the country successfully launched its first manned spacecraft, Shenzhou V, from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center and sent its first astronaut to the space with the "Long March CZ-2 F" carrier rocket.
With the launch, China became the third country, after Russia and the United States, to has the ability to carry out the mannedspace flights . Yang Liwei ' name therefore was placed in history next to those of Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard.
Yang Liwei and His Family
Yang Liwei was born in 1965 in Suizhong County of Northeast China'sLiaoning Province. Yang's mother was a teacher, and his father was an accountant at a state agricultural firm.
Yang's older sisterr recalled that Yang's grades were average but he excelled in the sciences and was especially fond of playing with various kinds of electric apparatuses.
Yang has a very healthy body, partly due to the exercise he did in his childhood, As
a little boy he loved to swim and skate; he also shone in track and field events.
In September 1983, Yang Liwei joined the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and entered the No. 8 Aviation College of the PLA Air Force. Yang graduated in 1987 with the equivalent of a bachelor's degree. In the winter of 1990, Yang married a woman ,named Zhang Yumei, and had a boy.
Space Hero Yang Liwei
In January 1998, Yang Liwei was selected as a member of the group of Chinese astronauts set to train to fly the Project 921 (later Shenzhou) spacecraft. He was one of 14 chosen from among 1,500 pilot candidates. The team underwent five years of rigorous physical, psychological, and technical training at the Astronaut Training Base inBeijing.
Yang Liwei noted the study was much more difficult than that in college. There were more than 30 subjects he had to have a well command of. Yang's English was not good, so in order to improveing in this area, he often called his wife from the astronaut station to serve ashis English learning partner. Practice makes perfect, at the exam, Yang got a score of 100 .