September 29, 2008
China – Down to Earth
China's first spacewalk team returns home
Chinese taikonaut Zhai Zhigang is helped out of the Shenzhou-7 re- entry module after it landed in Siziwang Banner in North China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Sunday. Zhai made the country's first spacewalk in the mission. Zhai, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng stayed inside the capsule after landing for about 45 minutes to adapt to Earth's gravity before slowly crawling out the narrow entrance. A senior Chinese space official said the mission - China's most ambitious - takes the country one step closer in its plan to build a space station and then to land a man on the moon. Wang Zhaoyao, deputy director of manned space flight, said the program is looking to launch a new orbiting vehicle and set up a simple space lab by 2011.