Saturday, September 27, 2008

Chinese space walk

BEIJING - A Chinese astronaut on Saturday performed the nation's first-ever spacewalk, the latest milestone in an ambitious program that is increasingly rivaling the United States and Russia in its rapid expansion.

Mission commander Zhai Zhigang floated out of the orbiter module's hatch in the spacewalk, shown live on state broadcaster CCTV. Tethered to handles attached to the Shenzhou 7 ship's orbital module's exterior, Zhai remained outside for about 13 minutes before climbing back inside and closing the hatch behind him.
"Shenzhou 7 has left the module, physically feel very good. Greetings to all the people of the nation and all the people of the world," Zhai said.
Fellow astronaut Liu Boming also emerged briefly from the capsule to hand Zhai a Chinese flag that he waved for an exterior camera filming the event. The third crew member, Jing Haipeng, monitored the ship from inside the re-entry module
The successful spacewalk paves the way for assembling a space station from two Shenzhou orbital modules, the next major goal of China's manned spaceflight program. China is also pursuing lunar exploration and may attempt to land a man on the moon in the next decade.
China launched its first manned mission, Shenzhou 5, in 2003, followed by a two-man mission in 2005.
Since blasting off from their northwestern China launch base on Friday, the astronauts had been largely occupied with preparing the suits and adapting to zero gravity. Meals aboard the craft have followed a typical Chinese menu, featuring versions of kung pao chicken, shrimp and dried fruit, the official Xinhua News Agency said.


spacerguy said...

The Chinese space programe is indeed an exciting one but you can see why they've joined in on the action. According to China has big plans in the pipeline.

In 2009-2010, they want to build a space station in orbit.

In 2010-2011, land an unmanned probe on the Moon.

By 2013, launch a rocket with triple the lifting power of the nation's largest. It would be able to carry a payload of 27 tons to space, three times today's nine tons.

In 2015-2016, land another unmanned probe on the Moon to collect soil samples and return them to Earth in preparation for a human moon base.

In 2017, land a man on the Moon.
Chinese astronauts on the Moon in 2017 could set up an astronomical telescope and measure the abundance of helium-3, which could be used back on Earth as a non-polluting fuel source.

I love everything to do with space travel and the astronauts, they're just the greatest, are'nt they?

Edward Ott said...

I feel the chinese are breathing some much needed new life into humanity's exploration of space.