Read about and watch Tuesday's launch of the Shenzhou-10, Chinese longest and most ambitious manned space mission. There are bigger missions yet to come.
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One of the great things about using news stories for learning English is that, if the event covered is big enough, you can find video clips showing what is described in the text. Here is an example. The clip has no commentary, but it does show you the launch site, the launch itself, the “vast column of flame” beneath the rocket, the astronauts inside the space vehicle, the booster detachment, etc.
China launches longest-ever manned space mission
By Sebastien Berger (AFP)
BEIJING — China began its longest manned space mission yet Tuesday with the launch of the Shenzhou-10, state television showed, as the country steps up an ambitious exploration programme symbolising its growing power.
The rocket ascended above the Jiuquan space centre in the Gobi Desert exactly on time at 0938 GMT, trailing a vast column of flame.
The three astronauts on board – who include Wang Yaping, 33, China's second woman in space – saluted cameras mounted inside their capsule.
A few minutes after launch the boosters detached from the rockets, and a little later the solar panels of the Shenzhou-10 – the name means "Divine Vessel" – were deployed, to applause from mission control.
"The vessel is already in orbit," said Zhang Youxia, the manned space programme's chief commander. "I now announce the launch was a great success."
The crew are due to spend 15 days in orbit, in a mission that is a crucial step towards China's goal of building a full space station capable of housing astronauts for extended periods.
President Xi Jinping, fresh from a summit with US President Barack Obama, was on hand to watch the departure.
Beijing sees the multi-billion-dollar space programme as a marker of its rising global stature and mounting technical expertise, as well as the ruling Communist Party's success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.
The project is heavily promoted to the domestic audience, and state broadcaster CCTV began continuous coverage several hours before the launch.
Astronaut Wang will teach lessons to schoolchildren via video link from space, officials said.
"We are all students in facing the vast universe. We are looking forward to joining our young friends to learn and explore the mystical and beautiful universe," she told a press conference on Monday.
The Shenzhou-10 will dock with the Tiangong-1 – "Heavenly Palace" – space laboratory, and the crew will transfer into it and carry out medical and space technology experiments.
China first sent a human into space only in 2003 and its capabilities still lag behind the US and Russia. But its programme is highly ambitious and includes plans to land a man on the moon and build a station orbiting Earth by 2020.
commentary – a discussion of something คำบรรยาย, คำอธิบาย, คำวิจารณ์
launch – sending something out, such as a rocket into the air or into space การปล่อย
site – a place where something is located สถานที่
vast – extremely large in area, size, amount, etc. กว้างใหญ่, มหาศาล
column – a thing shaped like a column (a tall, solid, vertical post, usually round), in this case a column of flame เสากลม
flame – the brightly burning gas that you see coming from a fire เปลวไฟ, เปลวเพลิง
astronaut – a person whose job involves travelling and working in a spacecraft มนุษย์อวกาศ
booster (rocket) – a rocket that gives a spacecraft extra power when it leaves the earth, or that makes a missile go further
detachment – the act of separating something from something else; the process of being separated from something การแยกออก, การถอดออก
manned – (in this case) ridden or controlled by humans
mission – a flight into space การเคลื่อนที่หรือการวิ่งสู่เป้าหมายของจรวด
state – government รัฐบาล
step up – to increase; to cause to happen at a faster rate เร่ง
ambitious – needing a great amount of skill and effort to be successful or be achieved ใฝ่สูง, มักใหญ่ใฝ่สูง, ทะเยอทะยาน
exploration – when you search and find out about something การสำรวจ, การค้นหา
symbolise – to represent something; to be a symbol of something เป็นสัญลักษณ์, เป็นเครื่องแสดง
ascend – to go up ขึ้นไป
trail – to be behind something ตาม
salute – to put your hand to your head as a formal way of showing respect to someone คำนับ,แสดงความเคารพ
mounted – fixed into position on something, so that you can use it, look at it or study it จัดตั้ง
capsule – a pod; a small roundish-shaped container in which people travel แคปซูล
panel – a flat piece of metal, wood, glass or other material that forms part of something such ไม้กระดานที่ใช้ปิดผนัง
solar panel – a large flat piece of equipment that uses light and heat energy from the sun to produce hot water and electricity
divine – connected with a god, or like a god เกี่ยวกับพระเจ้า, เกี่ยวกับวิญญาณ
vessel – a boat or ship, in this case a space ship เรือ
deploy – to put into position and made ready for use การนำลงประจำท้องที่
applause – showing enjoyment or approval of something such as a performance or speech by clapping the hands repeatedly to make a noise การปรบมือแสดงความชื่นชม
mission control – a group of people who control a space flight from the ground, or the place where they do this
orbit – a curved path followed by a planet or an object as it moves around another planet, star, moon, etc วิถีโคจร, วงโคจร
commander – the head of a large unit ผู้บังคับบัญชา
due to – scheduled to มีกำหนด
crucial – extremely important because it effects the result of something สำคัญยิ่ง
extended period – a long period of time ระยะเวลานาน
fresh – having just come from a particular place; having just had a particular experience สดๆร้อนๆ, เพิ่งมา
summit – a meeting or a series of meetings between leaders of two or more countries การประชุมสุดยอด
on hand – at a place and available for something; present ปรากฎอยู่
departure – leaving การออกจาก
global – known throughout the world ระดับโลก
stature – reputation ชื่อเสียง
mounting – increasing ที่เพิ่มขึ้น
expertise – a high level of knowledge or skill ทักษะความรู้, ความคิดเห็นของผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
ruling – having control over a particular group, country, etc ซึ่งมีอำนาจ, ซึ่งปกครอง
fortunes – luck, well being โชค
poverty-stricken – extremely poor ยากจน
domestic – inside the country being talked about ภายในประเทศ
audience – the people who watch an event happen ผู้ชม
broadcaster – a person, company or organisation whose job is presenting or talking on television or radio programmes ผู้กระจายเสียงทางวิทยุหรือโทรทัศน์
via – through ผ่าน
universe – everything that exists, especially all physical matter, including all the stars, planets, galaxies, etc. in space จักรวาล
mystical – having spiritual powers or qualities that are difficult to understand or to explain ลึกลับ, เกี่ยวกับเวทมนตร์
press conference – an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it การแถลงข่าว
dock – if two spacecraft dock, or are docked, they are joined together in space
laboratory – a room or building used for scientific research, experiments, testing, etc ห้องปฏิบัติการ, ห้องทดลอง
transfer – to move someone or something from one place, vehicle, person or group to another ย้าย
experiment – a test of products, substances, new ideas, methods, etc. to find out what effect they have การทดลอง
capability – the ability to do something ความสามารถ
lag – to move or develop slowly or more slowly than others; to fall behind ล้าหลัง, พัฒนาอย่างเชื่องช้า
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