Status: Inactive. Born: 1941. Birth Place: Laizhou, Shandong.
Wang Zhiyue, an astronaut in the first Chinese training group of 1971-1972, was later Commander of the Air Force Third Division. Wang was born in Shandong Laichau. In 1958 he graduated from school, and then entered the Air Force. On March 7, 1968 his MiG-19 shot down a high altitude drone, winning the Merit Citation, First Class. He noted the difficulty of hitting the subsonic high altitude drone using a supersonic fighter. Wang would continue as a fighter pilot from 1959 to 1992, far beyond the normal grounding age of 45. Wang recalled that there was much speculation among the candidates as to why they were called to Beijing at the end of November 1970 and subjected to rigorous physical examinations and interviews. However he suspected the true cause when seeing a documentary film about the Soviet cosmonauts.
China approved Project 714 on July 14, 1970 to develop the Shuguang manned spacecraft, to be launched in 1973. Shuguang group selection bagan in late 1970. Initial screening resulted 88 candidates from PLA pilots. After further medical and political testing in the first half of 1971, 20 finalists were selected. One candidate did not report for training for reasons that were never divulged. The program was cancelled in late 1971.