BEIJING - A Chinese astronaut has emerged from the Shenzhou 7 spaceship to perform his nation's first-ever spacewalk.
Mission commander Zhai Zhigang floated out of the orbiter module's hatch Saturday afternoon in footage shown live on state television.
Zhai said: "Greetings to all the people of the nation and all the people of the world."
Fellow astronaut Liu Boming also emerged briefly from the capsule to hand Zhai a Chinese flag that he then waved for an exterior camera. The third crew member, Jing Haipeng, monitored the ship from inside the re-entry module.
A successful spacewalk paves the way for assembling a space station from two Shenzhou orbital modules, the next major goal of China's manned spaceflight program.