Brahmand NewsPrevious Article
Aero India 2023

Former reserve to be China's first space walker


HONG KONG (BNS): As a reserve for the previous two space missions Colonel Zhai Zhigang has been patiently waiting. And now as his turn comes, it is Zhaiís turn to write a new chapter in Chinaís ambitious strides in space, as the first Chinese space walker.

According to reports emanating from mainland, 42-year-old fighter pilot Colonel Zhai has been selected to be the astronaut for the historic September 25 mission, during which he will carry out first space walk by a Chinese.

Colonel Zhai Zhigang is with the Peopleís Liberation Army and hails from northeastern China's Heilongjiang Province. He joined the Chinese air force in 1985. He was a reserve for the previous space missions -- Shenzhou V and VI.

Two other astronauts Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng will also be onboard Shenzhou VII.

Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng who set a new Chinese record with a five-day flight on the Shenzhou VI are part of the backup team, which is led by freshman Chen Quan.

Colonel Zhai Zhigang is scheduled to undertake a 40-minute manoeuvre during which he is also expected to release a small satellite, which will beam footage of the space walk back to Earth. While international routine is to space walk on the third or fourth day of the mission, Colonel Zhai may take the space walk on the second day itself, reports suggest.

Liu will be his substitute.

According to reports, the most likely takeoff time for Shenzhou VII is 9:10 pm on Sept 25, if the weather is clear.

The three astronauts, all PLA fighter pilots, are members of the ruling Communist Party of China.

Chinese space scientists have completed final inspection of the rocket and the spacecraft at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwestern Gansu Province, the state-run China Daily reported on its website.

All the major systems are now in final preparations and the main tests for the spacecraft have been finished. The crew have been busy making final preparations and are all in good physical and mental condition, it said.

China began its manned space programme in 1999 and successfully sent its first astronaut, Yang Liwei, into orbit on the Shenzhou V spacecraft in 2003. The Shenzhou VII mission is crucial to its two successors Shenzhou VIII and IX, which are expected to help set up a space laboratory complex in 2010.

The three astronauts, or taikonauts as they are known in China, are scheduled to return on September 28.

Other Related News

Soyuz spacecraft brings back Expedition 23 crew

The spacecraft, with three astronauts, has landed safely in eastern Kazakhstan, wrapping up a 163-day mission to the International Space Station.

BRAHMOS Missile Systems

Headlines

Brahmand World Defence Update 2023

Brahmand World Defence Update

Image Gallery