Yang Liwei, the first Chinese in space, said he was eager to step on the moon.
He made the statements on the 16th anniversary of his space flight aboard the Shenzhou V spacecraft on October 15, 2003, as cited by the China Manned Space Agency.
“China has begun to develop key technologies related to a manned lunar landing,” said Yang. “It would be exciting to see Chinese astronauts step on the extraterrestrial body.”
Yang trains every week and undergoes regular exams.
“Like all other Chinese astronauts, I am ready for the nation’s call,” he said.
Yang recalled that unexpected things happened during the country’s first manned space flight. For example, it was found with low frequency resonance during the flight, which has the potential to damage internal organs.
“The feeling caused by the resonance aboard the spacecraft almost killed me,” Yang said.
After returning to Earth, Yang told space engineers about the problem, which was solved and avoided in subsequent missions. From Shenzhou V to Shenzhou VI, more than 180 technological advances were made.
In 1992, China began its manned space program with a three-step strategy.
The first step, sending an astronaut into space and returning safely, was done by Yang.
The second step was to develop advanced space flight techniques and technologies, including extravehicular activity and orbital coupling. This phase also included the launch of Tiangong I, a transition platform to test coupling technology, and Tiangong II, China’s first space laboratory.
So far, China has launched 11 manned spacecraft, a cargo spacecraft, Tiangong I and Tiangong II, sending 11 astronauts into space and completing the first two steps of the manned space program.
The next step will be to assemble and operate a permanent manned space station. The project is going well and the station is expected to be completed around 2022.
China is also selecting new astronauts for space station missions. The country will welcome astronauts abroad to work together with Chinese astronauts aboard the station once construction is completed.
China’s progress in space is a reflection of how strong the nation has become, and exploring space is a common cause of all humanity, said Yang.
The astronaut is eager to participate in activities that popularize science and spread his love for space.
“I hope more people can become astronauts,” Yang added.