President Xi sees off Shenzhou-X crew
Updated: 2013-06-11 14:45
JIUQUAN - President Xi Jinping attended a see-off ceremony for Chinese astronauts of an upcoming manned space mission on Tuesday at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, where he is scheduled to watch the launch of the Shenzhou-X spacecraft.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) attends a see-off ceremony for Chinese astronauts of an upcoming manned space mission at the astronauts' apartment building in the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, Northwest China's Gansu province, June 11, 2012. The three astronauts are Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping. [Photo/Xinhua]
Xi, who has just wrapped up his trip to Latin America and the United States and returned to China on Sunday, came into the astronauts' apartment building on Tuesday afternoon to see off Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping, who are due to start their journey to space at 5:38 p.m..
"On behalf of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the State Council, the Central Military Commission, as well as people of all ethnic backgrounds across the country, I'm here to see you off," said Xi.
Shenzhou-X will be China's fifth manned space mission. The president described the mission as both glorious and sacred. "You made Chinese people feel proud of ourselves," he said.
Xi said the mission's crew members carry a "space dream" of the Chinese nation, and represent the lofty aspirations of the Chinese people to explore space.
"You have trained and prepared yourselves carefully and thoroughly, so I am confident in your completing the mission successfully," he added.
"I wish you success and look forward to your triumphant return, " Xi told the astronauts.
After their brief meeting with Xi and other Party and military officials, the astronauts, in white space suits, walked out of the apartment compound, called Wentiange, or "Ask-the-Sky Pavilion," at the launch center.
They came to a square where they were greeted by a cheerful crowd and then reported to Zhang Youxia, commander-in-chief of the country's manned space program.
"Proceed!" Zhang said.
The astronauts then took a vehicle and left for the launch pad.