September 27, 2008

First Chinese Spacewalk

On the afternoon of September 27, 2008, China made history. Taikonaut and mission commander of Shenzhou VII Zhai Zhigang stepped out of the orbital module at 4:40 P.M. Beijing local time. This is the country's third space mission with taikonauts, and its first spacewalk, becoming the third country to conduct extra-vehicular activity independently. The event was broadcasted live on CCTV across China.

The spacewalk was not the only achievement of Shenzhou VII. This mission is also China's first to carry three taikonauts. After the spacewalk, the crew also released a satellite into orbit.

The spacewalk, which only lasted about 18 minutes, was a major event. It marks yet another step the country is making towards establishing a space station by 2020 and land a man on the moon. The event was also a reminder that the United States and Russia are not the only big players in space. China and other countries are slowly stepping into their ground.

Image: CCTV

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