China's first manned spaceship, Shenzhou V, is the largest of its kind in the world.
The spaceship, consisting of a propulsion module, a re-entry module, an orbiter and an additional module, is large enough for three astronauts, Yuan Jiajun, a leading senior engineer in charge of the spaceship system under China's space program, told Xinhua Thursday.
The re-entry module of the spacecraft measures 2.5 meters in diameter, larger than the first spaceships launched by the former Soviet Union and the United States, which were designed to accommodate only one cosmonaut. Shenzhou V, weighing 7,790 kilograms, is also heavier.
Shenzhou V will not abandon its orbit module, Yuan said. Instead, it will remain on the orbit for scientific experiments over a period of several months after the re-entry module return to earth.
"Multi-adaptability of the orbiter has made our future space projects possible," said Yuan, adding that Chinese experts are focusing on the docking technology for moving objects in space.
(Xinhua News Agency October 16, 2003)