China's first astronaut Yang Liwei on board of Shenzhou V talked to Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan at about 5:30 pm Wednesday (Beijing time) via live communication systems.
With the live footage of Yang in his cockpit being shown on a huge screen in the center, Cao, also member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission and state councilor, sent warm regards to the spacefarer from the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center.
"On behalf of the CPC Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission," Cao said, "I would like to send my warmest regards to you and show my gratitude for your great contribution to our nation's space mission."
Cao expressed his hope that Yang will fulfill the rest tasks before the whole nation welcomes his glorious return.
From his spacecraft in outer space, Yang said hello to people across the world. "I will strive to complete my tasks well and ensure the full success of the mission," Yang said to Cao.
The live communication was carried out while the spaceship orbited the earth for the sixth time.
During his flight, the astronaut kept close contact with the command and control center and talked to other officers in the center. Yang also slept in the capsule for about three hours.
China blasted off a powerful rocket carrying the nation's first manned spacecraft, Shenzhou V, at 9:00 Wednesday in a remote launch site in the northwestern province of Gansu.
(Xinhua News Agency October 15, 2003)