Sunday, September 28, 2008

They gave those new space suits a real workout this weekend...

FD: LOTS of Video of the flight:

China's first spacewalk attracts world attention 2008-09-28 00:11:45

BEIJING, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- Chinese taikonauts completed the country's first spacewalk Saturday, a feat that immediately became the focus of attention around the world.
Vladimir Soloviev, flight control director of the Russian space mission control center and a former cosmonaut who also performed spacewalks, called on Russia and China to enhance cooperation and share their experiences in space exploration.
"A spacewalk faces a series of complicated technological difficulties. China's first spacewalk contributes a lot to the country's space technology and is also a great achievement for the whole world," he said.
China is a country with growing industrial strength, a booming economy and great scientific potential, which have made it necessary for China and Russia to join hands in space exploration, the cosmonaut added.
Karl Bergquist, an expert with the European Space Agency (ESA),said the Chinese taikonauts' performance looked very impressive.
"I have just seen the first Chinese extra-vehicular activity (EVA) on the website of Xinhua, It looks very impressive. The Chinese astronauts have done a nice job. I am really happy for China," Bergquist said.
"The success of China's first EVA means now China has finished two challenging tasks during this mission and will of course push forward the development of China's space industries," he added.
British media also closely followed China's first spacewalk.
The Times online carried a story with the headline "China celebrates its first spacewalk," calling it "the latest milestone in an ambitious program."
A story in The Telegraph, headlined "China carries out first spacewalk," said "the main purpose of the flight was to prepare the technical skills, including the docking of two orbiters together, necessary for the development of a Chinese space station."
"The mission was also considered an essential step towards a manned mission to the moon," it added.
The Guardian said "Zhai Zhigang today became the first Chinese person to walk in space, marking the highlight of his country's third manned mission."
"The maneuver is a step towards China's long-term goal of assembling a space laboratory and station," said the newspaper.
French daily Le Monde said on its website that the successful spacewalk indicates China has become a member of "the club of the world's space powers."
A story in Japan's Kyodo news agency said the 20-minute spacewalk was a historic step in China's space program.
The ability to carry out spacewalks is essential for the success of future Chinese space missions, aimed at building an orbiting space laboratory and space station, it added.
The Shenzhou-7 spacecraft, carrying three taikonauts, was launched Thursday night from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China.
On Saturday afternoon, taikonaut Zhai Zhigang floated out of Shenzhou-7, accomplishing China's first attempt at extra-vehicular activity in space.
Editor: Yan

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