CHINA> National
Chinese astronauts debuts spacewalk
Updated: 2008-09-27 17:03

In this video grab taken on Friday, September 27, 2008 from China Central Television, Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang waves as he conducts China's first spacewalk. [Xinhua] 

BEIJING -- Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang slipped out of the orbital module of ShenzhouVII Saturday afternoon, starting China's first spacewalk or extravehicular activity (EVA) in the outer space.

Donning a US$4million homemade Feitian space suit, Zhai waved to the camera mounted on the service module after pulling himself out of the capsule in a head-out-first position, video monitor at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) showed.

"ShenzhouVII is now outside the spacecraft. I feel well. I am here greeting the Chinese people and people of the whole world," the 42-year-old astronaut reported to the ground control in Beijing.

In this video grab taken on Friday, September 27, 2008 from China Central Television, Chinese astronaut Zhai ZhigangconductsChina's first spacewalk outside the Shenzhou VII spacecraft. [Xinhua]


Video monitor at the ground control showed Zhai slowly moved towards a test sample of solid lubricant placed outside the orbital module. He took the sample and handed it over to Liu Boming, who stayed in the orbital module and closely monitored Zhai's moves.

After the handover, Zhai, who dreamed of flying into space as an impoverished teenager, started the core part of the space adventure, spacewalk.

The astronaut, tethered to the spacecraft with two safety wires and a long electric "cord" providing oxygen and communications, moved slowly along.

The ShenzhouVII spacecraft took off from northwest China's Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 9:10 pm on Thursday, and is scheduled to land on the Inner Mongolia steppe on Sunday.