China spacecraft launched, space station and manned lunar missions planned


China successfully launched the Shenzhou VII spacecraft today, in the country's third manned space mission in five years. Snip from New York Times article:

The three-day mission is part of Project 921, China’s ambitious manned space program, and was expected to include the country’s first attempt at a space walk, which would make China only the third country to accomplish the feat, after Russia and the United States.

The Chinese government has spent billions of dollars in recent years building up a space program that it hopes will establish a space station by 2020 and eventually put a man on the moon.

China Launches Space Walk Mission (NYT), and the Wikipedia article for Shenzhou V11 has lots of details. Or, go straight to China's state-run news agency Xinhua's Shenzhou VII coverage. Among the Xinhua articles is one celebrating the spread of the neologism "taikonaut"...

The word is a hybrid of the Chinese term "taikong" (space) and the Greek "naut" (traveler), or astronaut, according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary. Another variation on the term is "cosmonaut", coined during the Soviet space era.

"Taikonauts" a sign of China's growing global influence (xinhuanet.com)