The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) is the main contractor for the Chinese space program. It is state-owned and has a number of subordinate entities which design, develop and manufacture a range of spacecraft, launch vehicles, strategic and tactical missile systems, and ground equipment. It was officially established in July 1999 as part of a Chinese government reform drive, having previously been one part of the former China Aerospace Corporation. Various incarnations of the program date back to 1956.
Third test flight of the Shenzhou spacecraft, without crew on board. Main objective of the mission was to test the systems required to support a human in space. A human dummy was carried in the descent module to simulate the physiological signals of a human. 44 different experiments were carried, including an imaging spectrograph, cloud sensor, radiation sensor, solar ultraviolet monitor, solar constant monitor, atmospheric composition detector, atmospheric density detector, multi-chamber space crystallization furnace, space protein crystal equipment, a cell bioreactor, a solid matter tracking detector, and a microgravity gauge. Also on board was a video camera that broadcast images of the Earth as seen through one of the windows on the spacecraft.