Fri, September 26, 2008
Sci-Tech > Science

China turns space technology into civilian products

2008-09-26 06:34:08 GMT2008-09-26 14:34:08 (Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- China's manned space program may be controversially run by the military, but its space technologies are definitely resulting into civilian products, such as tasty food and hi-tech earplugs.

"We have been working to civilianize the space food," said Chen Bin, nutritionist in charge of astronauts' food with the China Astronaut Research and Training Center.

The center was working with some food manufacturers, providing technologies and quality standard for them. So far chocolate and cakes astronauts ate in the space have been produced for civilian use, Chen said.

"Space food is safe, convenient and of intense nutrition," he said. "It will be popular with travelers, mountaineers and explorers to the polar regions."

In addition, space food production adopted the strictest quality control standard. For instance, air quality at the workshops should be the same as pharmacy factories, he said. "It will stand out in the market when people are paying more and more attention to food safety."

The earplugs that astronauts are wearing on board of the Shenzhou-7 spaceship have also entered civilian market.

Through thousands of tests, the center found a special material to produce the earplugs that most fitted human skin texture and stood against unusual pressure in the space.

The earplugs, tailor-made to astronauts' ears, could automatically adjust pressure inside the ears and effectively keep noise out but would not affect hearing, said a source with the center.

The earplugs have been tested in the previous two manned space programs. They will be useful for miners and other people working in a noisy condition such as spinning mills, the source said.

They can also effectively resist the pressure under the water and are popular with divers and swimmers, he said.

BEIJING, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Three Chinese taikonauts who blasted off on the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft told the ground control center that they felt "physically sound" in the first few minutes of the flight.

The space voyager took off at 9:10 p.m. on Thursday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center with leaders including President Hu Jintao present seeing off the taikonauts -- Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng. Full story

JIUQUAN, Gansu, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- China launched its third manned spacecraft on Thursday with three astronauts on board to attempt the country's first-ever space walk.

The spaceship Shenzhou-7 blasted off on a Long March II-F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern Gansu Province at 9:10 p.m. after a breathtaking countdown to another milestone on China's space journey. Full story

JIUQUAN, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- All three Chinese taikonauts have entered the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft at 18:28 p.m. Thursday, about three hours ahead of its scheduled launch.

They then plugged their spacesuits to the re-entry module of the craft and checked the communication system with the ground control after reviewing the operation manual of the spaceship. Full story

JIUQUAN, Gansu, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao met with Shenzhou-7 taikonauts (astronauts) Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng here Thursday.

China's third manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 will blast off from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. The launch window was set between 9:07 p.m. to 10:27 p.m (1307 GMT to 1427 GMT). Full story

JIUQUAN, Gansu, Sept. 25 (Xinhua) -- The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center held a ceremony Thurday afternoon for the three taikonauts due to board the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft before the startof the mission.

The ceremony was held at the taikonauts' apartment compound, called Wentiange, or "Ask-the-Sky Pavillion," at the launch center.

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