China’s First Spacewalk a Success (Video)

Article written: 27 Sep , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
by

[/caption]It’s official, China has become the third nation to successfully carry out a spacewalk in Earth orbit. Fighter pilot Zhai Zhigang was the first to exit the Shenzhou-7 module at 16:30 Beijing Time (08:30 GMT), as the Chinese space agency streamed live video of the event. Zhai lifted himself through the hatch and waved at the camera attached to the service module on the outside of the craft, with Earth looming overhead. Shortly after, crew mate Liu Boming emerged to hand Zhai a small Chinese flag which he waved enthusiastically. The extra-vehicular activity (EVA) lasted for about 15 minutes. At the start of the EVA, Zhai said, “I’m feeling quite well. I greet the Chinese people and the people of the world.”

Shenzhou-7 was launched by a Long March II-F rocket from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern Gansu Province of China on Thursday, carrying Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng into space on the three-day mission. The principal objective was to successfully complete a spacewalk, paving the way for a Chinese orbital outpost and eventual mission to the Moon within the decade. It would appear the mission was a success, allowing China into an exclusive club of only three nations ever to have carried out orbital activities in a space suit.

Watch China’s first ever space walk »

Zhai and Liu wore a Chinese-designed spacesuit called “Feitian” (which literally translates as “Fly in the Sky”), thought to cost between £5m and £20m ($10m-$40m) apiece. The third taikonaut (or “yuhangyuan”) Jing Haipeng, remained inside Shenzhou-7 wearing a Russian-made Orlan suit.

Whilst outside the craft, attached via an umbilical cable, Zhai retrieved a test sample of solid lubricant attached to the outside of the module before they were launched. He passed the sample to Liu. Once the handover was complete, 16 minutes into the EVA, both men re-entered the capsule.

Zhai, now China’s first man to ever carry out an EVA in Earth orbit, will celebrate his 42nd birthday next month. Prior to enrolling in China’s manned space programme, he was an air force pilot, and before then the official Chinese news agency was keen to highlight that Zhai “grew up in dirt-poor hardship with five siblings in the country’s far northeast,” and he “dreamed of flying into space when he was an impoverished teenager.”

This is an amazing achievement that will only boost the space-faring confidence of the Chinese. Perhaps the first Chinese Moon base isn’t that far off after all

Sources: BBC, Xinhua


20 Responses

  1. reevesAstronomy says

    I truly hope that China will stir a new space race very soon. The way that they’re going they’re gonna beat NASA to the Moon and Mars. Imagine all the resources available to them then! Come on NASA, let’s get some competition to make advances in space exploration like we’ve never seen before!

  2. Stefan says

    Congratulation China. But isn’t it sad, that the Chinese don’t want to join in the ISS instead of building there own space station?

  3. Kevin F. says

    Congrats to China! If space exploration were an Olympic sport, China gets a medal for this.

    Come on, NASA, let’s one-up them! 😀

  4. edgar says

    haven’t we already one-upped them, many times over?

  5. jason s says

    China is serious about their space program. Just because we have accomplished great things in the past doesn’t mean we do not need to compete with them. If we don’t then one day China will go out into space hitch themselves to a 30 trillion dollar asteroid and bring it home. Meanwhile we here in the U.S. will be doing things like trading Brittney Spears crotch shot pictures over our cell phones

  6. mirroreyes says

    Gratz China! The conspiracy types with have fun with this video though since it’s flatness gives a likeness to the effects quality in Space:1999.

  7. Hunnter says

    I totally agree with you reeves, i hope this starts another “space race” of sorts.

    Hopefully China have plans to capture that Apophis, i’d always like to have a 2nd moon. (if further away to cut down on tidal forces…)
    Plus, it has useful materials on there for us.

    Space race to capture Apophis!
    Hopefully the US won’t just nuke it… it’ll be Stargate all over again.

  8. Frank Glover says

    “But isn’t it sad, that the Chinese don’t want to join in the ISS instead of building there own space station?”

    Why? There’s no ‘one right way’ to build a space station (or pretty much anything else). Don’t believe me? Ask Bigelow Aerospace.

    The Chinese have their own engineering and design philosophy, their own agenda (which might involve activites [reconnisance? test location for military systems?] that are inconsistent with ISS). And they might also not want to get caught up in the Shuttle-Orion ‘gap’ and Soyuz dependency issues there.

    Let the Chinese do as they will, as long as there’s nothing threatening involved. Rather than try to concentrate everyone on *one* spaceflight solution, let as many government and private approaches bloom as possible, and see what shakes out.

  9. Vanamonde says

    Bravo! I join with the Chinese in cheering and welcome them to the community of the space faring! I wish my country would invive them to join in the so-called International Space Station instead of locking them out. After, the Russians are there, why not?

  10. Eduardo says

    Quiero recordar, aqui, lo que decia un personaje de Asimov (que era un ruso, viviendo en America) en Fundacion e Imperio… recuerdan a Barr, en Siwenna? nosotros apenas podemos esperar… si, yo vivo en el resto del mundo que apenas puede esperar lo que ustedes hacen. Quieranse, quierannos un poquito más, americanos, rusos, chinos (felicitacioneeees)… pensemos que somos mas que patrias: que somos humanos.

  11. T42 says

    America always seems to need a big kick in the pants to get going on just about anything,
    the space race being a good example.

    First it was Russia, now it’s China’s turn. And this time they may win.

    China has been an empire for over 5,000 years, and not for nothing.

  12. Maxwell says

    China wants to learn things for its own benefits.
    Contributing to the US space station would be nice, but then any projects they conduct in orbit would be overseen by all other partner nations.
    …that might not sit well with everyone.

  13. Howard Toburen says

    Exactly how have ‘we’ ‘locked’ the Chinese from the Space Station?

  14. Albert Ross says

    I, for one, welcome our new Yuhangyuanian overlords…

  15. John says

    With a $700 Billion bailout of Wall street , I don’t think that the space program will get much funding in the near to medium future. No money left to spend . Makes me a sad panda..

  16. Astrofiend says

    “# John Says:
    September 28th, 2008 at 3:16 am

    With a $700 Billion bailout of Wall street , I don’t think that the space program will get much funding in the near to medium future. No money left to spend . Makes me a sad panda..”

    If the US feels it either is, or will become, a national security issue it’ll get funding. And it’ll become a national security issue the moment the US feels like a space-faring act from China will threaten their prestige.

    I think if China announce a manned moon mission – space race v2 will be on for young and old. This time however, there will be three countries involved. I can’t wait, so long as they don’t start diverting funding from scientific research programs to fund the manned ones. Actually, that may be asking a bit much now that I think about it…

  17. RL says

    Did anyone compare the audio from the spacewalk to the text/dialog of the premature news post covering the event? Just wondering.

  18. Taiwan-4-NATO says

    Here in Taiwan (75miles from China) every national news network has declared that the Chinese Space walk was a hoax or faked video. They claim these reasons.
    1. No stars in video (space is suppose to have stars).
    2. The flag. The flag waved around oddly as if being blown in many directions by wind, but there is no wind in the vacuum of space.
    3. The rapid movement of the astronaut. The suite should cause the movement to be much slower, encumbering the user.
    4. China’s fears of being left behind America’s scientific genius caused China’s loss of honor, forcing them to make the fake.

  19. outcast says

    [quote]Congratulation China. But isn’t it sad, that the Chinese don’t want to join in the ISS instead of building there own space station?[/quote]

    Actually their original plan was to us the ISS but the US locked them out of the project.

    [quote]1. No stars in video (space is suppose to have stars).
    2. The flag. The flag waved around oddly as if being blown in many directions by wind, but there is no wind in the vacuum of space.
    3. The rapid movement of the astronaut. The suite should cause the movement to be much slower, encumbering the user.
    4. China’s fears of being left behind America’s scientific genius caused China’s loss of honor, forcing them to make the fake.[/quote]

    For a minute I thought I was reading something about America’s so called moon hoax, since the arguments are pretty much the same.

  20. Richard says

    Isn’t it ironic? NASA locked China out of ISS to keep the technology gap and now being sour that China’s not cooperating and developing their own station.

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