Great Leap Forward

There was a lot of hoopla in China yesterday. For the first time, China was able to send one of its citizens into space. That nation will be the third to do so (after the former Soviet Union and then the United States). The shuttle, Shenzhou V, was a highly modified version of an old Soviet model. The pilot was Lt. Col. Yang Liwei.

This great leap forward for the Chinese people was shrouded much in secrecy. That makes me wonder whether it’s for military reasons or to cover-up in case the launch was a failure? There were fourteen finalists who would pilot the craft. Towards the last five days, that number was narrowed down to three. Not only until the shuttle was halfway to orbit did the Chinese news agencies even get word that there was launch, and that the pilot was Yang.

NASA and the U.N. seem to be happy about the progress. The Bush Administration is showing any National Security concerns. Maybe, like us regular people, they don’t much about the Chinese Space Program?

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