September 27, 2008

Russian Expert Hails China’s First Spacewalk – Xinhua

Text of report in English by official Chinese news agency Xinhua (New China News Agency)

[Xinhua "Interview": "Russian Expert Hails China's First Spacewalk"]

MOSCOW, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) - As the Chinese taikonauts performed the country's first spacewalk Saturday, a Russian space expert called on the two nations to enhance cooperation and share their experiences in space exploration.

"A spacewalk faces a series of complicated technological difficulties. China's first spacewalk contributes a lot to the country's space technology and is also a great achievement for the whole world," said Vladimir Soloviev, flight control director of the Russian space mission control centre and a former cosmonaut who also performed spacewalks.

China's rapid development in space science and technology is based on the guidelines of efficiency and economy, and has benefited from the experiences of other countries, said the Russian cosmonaut, who worked on the Russian space station MIR in 1986.

China is a country with growing industrial strength, a booming economy and great scientific potential, which have made it necessary for China and Russia to join hands in space exploration, he said.

"By doing so, we can achieve scientific goals efficiently and economically, and bring tremendous benefits to the whole world," said Soloviev, 54, who joined the team of Russian cosmonauts in 1978 and spent eight months on board the space station SALUT-7 in 1984.

He also expressed confidence regarding China's aim of building its own space station, saying Chinese experts will overcome all problems that they may be confronted with.

"Our cooperation should be based on a principle of equality and fairness and I expect more progress will be made in our cooperation," Soloviev said.

The Shenzhou-7 spacecraft, carrying three taikonauts, was launched Thursday night from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwestern China.

On Saturday afternoon, taikonaut Zhai Zhigang floated out of Shenzhou-7, accomplishing China's first attempt at extravehicular activity in space.

Originally published by Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 1443 27 Sep 08.

(c) 2008 BBC Monitoring Asia Pacific. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.