Wed, September 17, 2008
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China ready for 1st space walk

2008-02-22 05:24:56 GMT2008-02-22 13:24:56 (Beijing Time) CCTV

Scientists in China's Shenzhou Spacecraft Program say two key steps needed for a space walk have passed all the ground tests. They say Chinese astronauts will likely walk in space for the first time before the end of this year.

Scientists say there are two crucial parts for the success of Chinese astronauts' first space walk.

One is the Airlock, which prevents pressure loss when exiting or entering the space craft.

The other is the Space Suit. Chinese scientists use the material that will support a space walk mission of up to 7 hours.

Now they are ready for a trial in space.

Yang Baohua. president of Chinese Acadenmy of Space Tech., said, "Space walk requires complicated technologies, but the preparation for the first space walk is going well. We successfully developed the airlock and it's working together well with the newly developed space suit."

The carrier rocket for Shenzhou VII has finished assembly and has entered testing procedures.

Some reports speculate the spacecraft may be launched in October, but the exact date has yet to be announced.

China's first manned spacecraft, the Shenzhou V, blasted off in 2003, making China the third nation after the former Soviet Union and the United States to send a human into space.

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