'Exploration part of Chinese dream'
Updated: 2013-06-25 02:04
By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Xi also attended a ceremony to see off the astronauts at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China on June 11, hours before the blast-off.
China's manned space program started in 1992. The country eventually aims to operate a space station around 2020.
The program has sent 10 astronauts into space since its first astronaut, Yang Liwei, succeeded in his space mission in 2003.
Earlier media reports quoted space experts' visions and expectations that China could in the future land astronauts on the Moon and send spacecraft to explore Mars. However, the government has not endorsed such plans yet.
The Shenzhou X is the country's fifth manned mission and aims to further test technologies designed for docking and supporting astronauts' stays in space, as well as to use new technologies related to the construction of a space station.
In the past 13 days, the Shenzhou X has completed an automatic docking and a manual docking with the Tiangong-1 space module.
Besides the manned missions, China will also launch an unmanned lunar explorer that will soft-land on the moon surface at the end of this year, according to China's moon exploration program.
The lunar exploration program, adopted in 2004, aims to bring lunar soil samples back to Earth by around 2020.