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UK’s first China space race exhibition launched

29 Jan 2010

A new exhibition which showcases China’s space race and the history of aerospace exploration from ancient China through to the present day will open for the first time in the UK next week at MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry), in association with the Confucius Institute at The University of Manchester.

The exhibition explores China's space race
The exhibition explores China's space race

From gunpowder to space rockets: The China Space Programme, which runs from 30 January to 7 August 2010 in MOSI’s Air & Space Hall, includes models of ancient rockets, as well as recent satellites (including the Donfanghong series), rockets (including the Long March series), space ships and a lunar rover.

The Chinese were the first people to invent gunpowder and ancient rockets during the Song dynasty in 960-1279AD. The exhibition, which was developed by the China High-Tech Industrialisation Association, tracks China’s history in space, from the development of the first rockets and early attempts to fly, through to the launch of the first carrier rocket on 29 June 1964, development of satellites and the launch of the Chang’e-1 lunar probe satellite on 24th October 2007, as well as future plans.

Steve Davies MBE, Director of MOSI said: “China led the world in its early development of gunpowder and rockets and is now competing with the world’s superpowers in the space race. This fascinating new exhibition, brought to Manchester thanks to the Museum’s links with organisations such as the China Museum of Science and Technology in Beijing, reveals the history of ancient China’s innovations and the country’s modern efforts to travel into space.”

Professor Alistair Ulph, Vice President and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at The University of Manchester, chairs the Board of Directors at the Confucius Institute.

He said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with MOSI on what we feel is an important exhibition illustrating history of China’s space exploration from ancient times to the present day.

“It is a fitting way for us to celebrate the links between University’s Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, the Confucius Institute and the Chinese National Observatory. We hope that visitors to the exhibition– and especially young people – will enjoy finding out about this fascinating area of Chinese culture and learning.”

Following its success in developing satellites and manned spaceflight, China is now planning to set up a space laboratory orbiting the earth. After the launch of Chang’e-1 the next phases of this programme involve sending a probe which will land on the Moon and collecting rock and soil samples before returning to Earth. 

MOSI has worked with the Confucius Institute to develop partnership arrangements with a number of science-based organisations in China, and The China Space Programme Exhibition is a result of this.

Notes for editors

For more information or images call Sarah Roe on 0161 606 0176 m: 07847 372647. or Mike Addelman, Media relations, Faculty of Humanities, University of Manchester 0161 275 0790