It surprised me that only two other countries had put men in space before. I guess I take for granted the fact that I grew up in a incredibly developed and pioneering country.
JIUQUAN, China (Reuters) - China will send its third manned mission into space on Thursday evening on a mission which will include its first space walk, the government said on Wednesday.
The Shenzhou VII will lift off from the Jiuquan space center in a remote desert area of the northwestern province of Gansu between 9:07 p.m. (9:07 a.m. EDT) and 10:27 p.m. (10:27 a.m. EDT), mission spokesman Wang Zhaoyao told a news conference.
Fuelling of the rocket has already begun, meaning the launch is "irreversible," the official Xinhua news agency said.
In October 2003, China became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket, after the former Soviet Union and the United States. It sent two more astronauts on a five-day flight on its Shenzhou VI craft in October 2005.
As an American, it seems a bit strange to me that China has the plan of one day, in the coming years, putting a man on the moon. It seems that the propaganda and pride that such an event would surely inspire would have to be tempered by the fact that America already did this forty years ago. But I suppose one also has to consider that when America put men on the moon in 1969, China was an absolute disaster.
I'm still seeing daily montages of Olympic highlights on TVs on buses and in public places. I can only imagine what China would be like during a lunar mission.