China's spacecraft that launched the country's first astronaut on 15 October 2003. The first uncrewed Shen Zhou 1 was launched on a test flight in November 1999 that lasted for less than a day. Shen Zhou 2 was launched in January 2001 by a Long March rocket from the Shuang Cheng Tzu launch centre. It carried out experiments involving space materials, astronomy, and life sciences. Several animals were also on board. The spacecraft's re-entry module landed after 6 days and 108 orbits, leaving an orbital module to remain in space for several months. Shen Zhou 5 was the upgraded vehicle for the first crewed flight.
Shen Zhou's design is based on Russia's Soyuz, with modifications.
http://www.spacedaily.com/china.html News of China's space programme. The site regularly reports on the status of the crewed Shen Zhou spacecraft as well as China's remote-sensing and other aerospace projects.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.