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.
This is the first crewed mission for China's Shenzhou program. Launched in 15 October, it carried the only astronaut aborad, Yang Liwei, on an 21 hour flight. Shenzhou 5 completed 14 orbits, followed by a safe landing back on Earth on the evening of 15 October.