The Long March-2F carrier rocket carrying China's Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, Oct. 17, 2016. (Photo: Xinhua/Li Gang)
Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message of congratulations on the successful launch of the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft on Monday.
Xi expressed congratulations and greetings to all researchers and staff engaged in the mission as well as the astronauts.
The mission of the orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 and the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft marks the first time that Chinese astronauts will stay in orbit for medium term, Xi said in the message.
Tasks of space science and application representing the frontier science and the future of high technology will be conducted during the mission, which Xi said symbolizes that China's manned space program has registered new and significant progresses.
Xi urged staff of the mission to carry on their work to guarantee that designated targets will be realized. He also encouraged them to "constantly break new ground for the manned space program, so that Chinese people will take bigger steps and march further in space probe, to make new contribution to the building of China into a space power."
Xi sent the message from the western Indian state of Goa where he attended the eighth summit of the emerging-market bloc of BRICS, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. (Updated) [Special coverage]