China Launches Manned Spacecraft

Article written: 25 Sep , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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China successfully launched its third manned spacecraft today with three astronauts on board. During the mission, they will attempt the country’s first-ever space walk. The Long March II-F rocket carrying the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft blasted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern Gansu Province at 9:10 p.m. local time. Onboard pilots Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng are will orbit Earth for three days. The astronauts, called taikonauts, told the ground control center that they felt “physically sound” in the first few minutes of the flight.

Two of the taikonauts will conduct a spacewalk, wearing Chinese-made spacesuits called Feitian which literally means flying in the sky, and is the name of a legendary Buddhist goddess. They will retrieve test samples loaded on the outside of the spacecraft, said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the country’s manned space project.

“We wish we could fly freely in space just like Feitian on the ancient Buddhist murals, so we gave this name to the homemade spacesuit,” said Zhou.

Chinese taikonauts inside Shenzou 7.  Credit: Xinhuanet

Chinese taikonauts inside Shenzou 7. Credit: Xinhuanet


The third taikonaut will remain inside the pressurized spacecraft, and will wear a Russian Orlan suit.

Other tasks of the Shenzhou-7 crew include the release of a small monitoring satellite and a trial of the data relay of the satellite Tianlian-I.

If successful, the mission would be of great significance to the country’s future plans to build a space lab and a space station, said Zhang Jianqi, deputy chief commander of the manned space project. “China pursues the principle of making peaceful use of space in its exploration and development,” Zhang said, adding the country was willing to carry out various forms of international cooperation in space exploration.

The taikonauts, all 42 years old, are scheduled to land in the central region of north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in a re-entry module after their mission is completed

Source: Xinhuanet


11 Responses

  1. dave s says

    It was reported that the China press reported on the launch in detail with astronaut conversations prior to the launch.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080925/ap_on_re_as/as_china_space_article_1

  2. Member
  3. Kendall says

    So when China says the spacewalk was completed successfully, my reaction will be “Yeah, right!”.

    I’m of Chinese descent, but the things China does are just embarrassing…

  4. Joe says

    China is doing great…. Go China

  5. Chuck Lam says

    Whoopie! A new space race!

  6. law mc says

    sadly, its a race that america is going to lose. There is no way they can compete, they just dont have the funds or the will anymore.

  7. dave s says

    It’s not so sad really. We have spent many fortunes on the space program. Let someone else carry the torch for awhile. You would think the oil rich nations would be able to step up to the plate.

  8. wh says

    The “another space race” view is interesting. If another country is doing anything that the U.S. did in space then it’s a space race. Does the U.S. own the universe?

    Talk about wills, the wills of the American people cannot be under estimated. They have had much much more than their shares of advances and scrifices. China’s space ambition simply has not been tested enough. Let’s wait and see if/when couple of their versions of Challenger type disasters…

  9. Chuck Lam says

    America’s problem with money appears to be simply the inability to control greed at the top of the economic food-chain.

  10. David says

    I think its fine to see others up there. Good luck to them I say. I hope they are compatible with the ISS, maybe china can look after it once the USA crashes and burns, I mean 700 Billion deficit, bye bye Orion.

  11. Bravehart says

    Correction, the United States is bankrupt!
    It owns over 15 trillion in debt, the 700 million
    is for covering the entitlement we are expecting from our government. Hello wake
    up! Your broke, the money you have in your pocket has less value than the paper it was
    printed on! But hey smoke an other Joint?
    Who cares!

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