2008-09-29 - Chinese spacewalk successChinese spacewalk success

Erster chinesischer Weltraumspaziergang<br /> The Chinese Shenzhou-7 spacecraft landed back on Earth on 28 September, after Chinese Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang completed a spacewalk Saturday afternoon, marking a historic breakthrough in the country's space program.

Donning a 4-million-U.S.dollar homemade Feitian space suit, Zhai slipped out of the orbital module of Shenzhou-7 in a head-out-first position at around 4:43 p.m. (0843 GMT). He waved to the camera mounted on the service module after pulling himself out of the capsule, video monitors at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) showed. Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao watched live transmission of the spacewalk from the Beijing control center. Minutes after Zhai was outside the capsule, teammate Liu Bomingalso emerged briefly and handed Zhai a Chinese national flag that Zhai waved in the outer space against the backdrop of the blue planet Earth. The third crew member, Jing Haipeng, monitored the ship from inside the re-entry module.
The Shenzhou-7 spacecraft took off from northwest China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 9:10 p.m. on Thursday, and is scheduled to land on the Inner Mongolia steppe at about 5:40 p.m. on Sunday. Before its return, the Shenzhou-7 will carry out trials of satellite data relay, a task aimed to improve the coverage and efficiency of China's satellite observation network.

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