A milestone in human history was reached on Oct. 15, 2003 when China became the third nation to independently launch an astronaut into Earth orbit atop its own Long March 2F rocket. Here is a collection of stories published by SPACE.com covering the flight. The story links are presented in reverse chronological order.

China Prepares for Second Piloted Space Mission
China is moving forward on readying its second piloted space mission, targeted for liftoff in June or July of 2005. The Long March 2F booster that is to loft the Shenzhou 6 spaceship is now being built, and is slated to undergo extensive testing early next year.

China to Send Two Taikonauts Next Time
BEIJING (AP) -- Its confidence in space travel rising, China on Wednesday announced plans to send two more astronauts into orbit within the next two years on the country's second manned mission.

China Launches Experimental Satellite
BEIJING (AP) -- Flush with new spacefaring confidence, China launched an experimental satellite for research and mapping Monday from the same pad where its first manned mission took off last month.

First Chinese Taikonaut Visits Hong Kong
HONG KONG (AP) -- A pre-selected crowd of flag-waving youngsters greeted China's first astronaut Friday in Hong Kong, but many in this territory have been less than awed by Lt. Col. Yang Liwei's trip through space.

China's First Man in Space Going 'Public'
BEIJING (AP) -- China's first man in space is finally going to appear in public -- not on the Chinese mainland but in Hong Kong.

Chinese Astronaut an Instant Hero But Where is He?
BEIJING (AP) -- Astronaut Yang Liwei, the icon, is everywhere in China, lionized in the state-run press not only as the country's first man in space, but also as an elite pilot, a star student and Communist Party member, a devoted family man -- a ''national treasure,'' as one colleague is quoted saying.

China's Long March 4B Sends Satellite Pair to Orbit
BEIJING (AP) -- China fired a scientific satellite developed with Brazil into orbit on Tuesday in its first space launch since its debut manned flight last week, the government said.

China's First Taikonaut Gets a Promotion
BEIJING (AP) -- The fighter pilot who made China's first trip into space last week has been promoted, the official Xinhua News Agency said Monday amid efforts by the communist government to make Lt. Col. Yang Liwei a national hero.

What Next for China? Friendly Competition or New Cold War?
China's milestone making Shenzhou 5 flight, piloted by Yang Liwei, a lieutenant colonel of the People's Liberation Army (PLA), is sparking a wide array of opinions as to the mission's true significance.

China Plans More Missions, Space Station
BEIJING (AP) -- Hours after declaring its first manned space mission a success, a triumphant China said Thursday it wants eventually to send up a permanently inhabited space station.

Chinese Astronaut Marvels Over Space Trip
BEIJING (AP) -- Fresh from a history-making trip into orbit, China's newly minted space hero proclaimed his amazement Thursday at "the greatest day of my life,'' while his leaders announced they would push forward in their exploration of the cosmos.

China's First Taikonaut Safely Returns to Earth
BEIJING (AP) -- China's first astronaut in space returned safely to Earth Thursday when his craft touched down on time and as planned after 21 hours in orbit, the government said.

Taikonaut's Takeout: Chinese Food of Course
BEIJING (AP) -- Now THAT'S Chinese takeout.

China Launches Its First Piloted Spaceflight
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- China reached a milestone in human history Tuesday with the launch of its first piloted spaceflight into Earth orbit.

China Launch Won't Ignite New Space Race, Analysts Say
WASHINGTON -- Although China has now joined Russia and the United States as the only nations on Earth capable of launching its citizens into space, U.S. analysts following the Asian space program say they don't see a three-way space race in the making.

First Woman in Space Lauds China for its 'Will and Desire' for Manned Spaceflight
TOKYO (AP) -- As China prepared for its first manned space mission, the first woman to orbit the earth praised China's determination to join the tiny club of spacefaring nations. But she also stressed Tuesday that Beijing had help from Russia.

Top 10 Questions: China's March to Space
If successful, China's launch of a piloted Shenzhou spacecraft planned for this week will boost China into an exclusive club of nations capable of independent launch of humans into Earth orbit. Here are the Top 10 questions and answers about the mission and its historical context:

China Won't Show Space Launch on Live TV

BEIJING (AP) -- With China's first manned space mission fast approaching, the Communist Party's official newspaper reported Tuesday that the government had scrapped plans to broadcast the launch on live television.

Three 'Taikonauts' Arrive for China Spaceflight
BEIJING (AP) -- The three final candidates to be China's first astronaut in space have arrived at the spacecraft's desert launch pad, the government said Monday, and suggested that only one will make the trip.

Enthusiasm for Manned Chinese Space Mission Grows as Launch Window is Firmed
Enthusiasm for China's first launch of humans into space is growing as a launch next week became more certain Friday.

NASA and China Should Work Together, Apollo Moonwalker Says
Apollo moonwalker Buzz Aldrin advises NASA to embrace China's emerging expertise in the human spaceflight arena as the Chinese prepare for a piloted launch that could occur next week.

China Report Indicates Human Space Mission Imminent
Firmer evidence emerged today of an imminent launch as Chinese space officials report they are near ready to rocket into orbit a piloted Shenzhou 5 craft. The historic event would boost China into an exclusive club of countries capable of independent human space travel.

'Playing with the Big Boys' -- China Ready for Human Spaceflight
China appears ready this month to make a stab at becoming the third nation capable of independent launch of humans into Earth orbit.

Shenzhou Secrets: China Prepares for First Human Spaceflight
After four unmanned trial flights, China's first-ever piloted spacecraft, the Shenzhou 5 is set to soar. When it does, and if triumphant, China will be propelled into an exclusive country club status: The third nation capable of independently rocketing humans into Earth orbit.

Pentagon Report: China's Space Warfare Tactics Aimed at U.S. Supremacy
China appears to be sharpening its war fighting space skills, from creating anti-satellite weaponry, building new classes of heavy-lift and small boosters, as well as improving an array of military space systems.

Space Cooperation: The China Factor
Reports from inside and outside China suggest that this October -- timed to salute the anniversary of the Communist revolution -- a piloted Shenzhou spaceship may roar out of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert.

After Shenzhou - China's Space Plans Boosted Following Successful Mission
After orbiting Earth for nearly a week, a reentry section of China's Shenzhou 4 spacecraft touched down early Sunday evening (Beijing time) in Inner Mongolia.

Report: Unmanned Chinese Spacecraft Returns to Earth
BEIJING (AP) -- An unmanned Chinese space capsule landed Sunday after orbiting the Earth for a week in what officials said was a step toward a manned flight later this year, state media reported.

China's Shenzhou 4 Set for Weekend Homecoming
Chinese space officials are pleased with the performance of their unpiloted Shenzhou 4 spacecraft. Preparations are underway at the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center to land the reentry section of the craft in Inner Mongolia on Sunday.

China Plans to Launch Manned Space Flight in 2003
BEIJING (AP) -- China revealed plans Thursday to become the world's third space-traveling nation by launching a manned capsule sometime this year, an expensive prize for a government hungry to showcase its progress and increase its global prestige.

China's Shenzhou 4 Working Well
China's unpiloted Shenzhou 4 continues to circle the Earth with the craft's reentry module likely to touch down on terra firma this coming weekend.

China's President Lauds Successful Shenzhou Launch
BEIJING (AP) -- President Jiang Zemin lauded the successful launch of China's unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou 4, calling it a "great victory'' that demonstrates the country's increasing technological capabilities.

China Orbits Shenzhou 4 as Nation's Space Strategy Evolves
China has successfully rocketed into space an unpiloted Shenzhou 4 spacecraft, perhaps on a final shakeout test before a Chinese crew flies the craft into Earth orbit next year, according to Chinese media reports.

China's Shenzhou 4 Test Flight Expected Soon
China is gearing up for a possible final un-piloted trek of its Shenzhou spacecraft. If the flight is successful, Western experts see that country launching its first human space travelers next year.

Report: China Prepares Shenzhou IV Shakeout Flight
Chinese space officials are reportedly ready to loft an unpiloted Shenzhou IV spacecraft - a key test prior to flying a crew next year.

The Next Great Leap Forward - China Readies Shenzhou 4
As China prepares to launch its fourth unpiloted Shenzhou spacecraft, Western observers continue to speculate about the timing, mission parameters and the crew make-up of that country's first ever manned space mission scheduled for next year.

Report: China's Manned Spacecraft Near Ready
BEIJING (AP) _ A leading Chinese spacecraft designer was quoted as saying Friday that China has perfected its design of a manned spaceship, which will carry its first humans into orbit in ''the near future.''