HONG KONG, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- Three visiting taikonauts, or Chinese astronauts, launched an exhibition on "China's First Spacewalk Mission" Saturday morning, enabling Hong Kong citizens to have a glimpse of the country's space journey.
Three taikonauts of the Shenzhou VII space mission, Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng, joined other guests including Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government's Chief Secretary for Administration Henry Tang to cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the exhibition at the Hong Kong Science Museum.
In his opening speech at the exhibition, Tang welcomed the three taikonauts and other members of the Shenzhou VII delegation who arrived in Hong Kong Friday to start a four-day visit to the city.
"Hong Kong citizens had followed up every move by our Shenzhou VII spacecraft and our taikonauts ever since the space vessel's lift-off," Tang said, "and we have been looking forward to their visit to Hong Kong after they returned to Earth successfully."
"I do hope that in near future, we will have astronauts of Hong Kong to take a ride in our country's space aircraft, walk and wave to us from the outer space," he said.
Zhang Jianqi, delegation head of the Shenzhou VII manned space mission to Hong Kong and Deputy Commander-in-Chief of China's Manned Space Engineering Program, said the exhibition in Hong Kongis not only a recurrence of the Shenzhou VII manned space mission, but a record of the country's aerospace program during the past 16years.
"We hope the exhibition will let Hong Kong compatriots have more knowledge of the country's aerospace cause and help promote the technological and cultural exchange between the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong," Zhang added.
The 10-day exhibition, running from Saturday to Dec. 15, features the re-entry capsule of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft, spacesuits, the national flag displayed and the gloves worn by the astronauts during the space walk this September.
Other major exhibits include the main parachute of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft, working journals and astronaut backpacks, space food, seeds carried by the spacecraft, models of Shenzhou VII spacecraft and the Long March 2F rocket, and about 100 photos in relation to the space walk mission.
Hundreds of students lined up early in the morning outside the Hong Kong Science Museum, waiting for the exhibition to open.
Due to popular response from the public, about 50,300 of the 66,600 free tickets had been distributed to the public Friday within two hours. A small number of tickets are still available on a first-come-first-served basis at the Science Museum's box office while stock lasts.
The exhibition is organized by the HKSAR government Leisure and Cultural Services Department and the China's Manned Space Engineering Office, in association with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and the China Astronaut Research and Training Center.
The three taikonauts jointly carried out China's historic maiden space walk this September with the Shenzhou VII spacecraft, which means "divine vessels".
During their stay in Hong Kong, the delegation will also meet tertiary students at a seminar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and brief them on the launch of Shenzhou VII, space walk technology and China's aerospace science development.