space hero: china's first man in space

programme information


1 x 60'

Production Company

Right Angle Media





Episode Information

China’s manned space programme was launched in 1992. Only two countries – the Soviet Union and the United States – had successfully launched a man into space, and China was determined to be the third. The space programme was conducted in secrecy. Over the course of the next decade the original field of 1,504 candidates was narrowed down to three top guns from the Chinese Air Force. Those three didn’t know who would be selected to fly into space – and into history – until it was time to suit up. So great was the secrecy that the name of the first astronaut wasn’t made public until after he was in orbit. The launch was not telecast live. But cameras did record the event. Yang Liwei stepped into the capsule as an unknown pilot. When he came back to Earth 14 orbits later he had become China’s first space hero. We go behind the closed doors of China’s ‘Space City’ to show the astronaut candidates’ rigorous training and testing regime, and the final moments before history was made.

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