Chinas third manned space mission to launch in late September

September 8th, 2008 - 12:51 pm ICT by ANI  

London, September 8 (ANI): China has announced the date for the launch of Shenzhou VII, its third manned space mission, as sometime between 25 and 30 September.

The spacecraft will be launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the countrys northwestern Gansu province.

According to a report by BBC News, the Shenzhou VII flight will feature Chinas first ever space walk, which will be broadcast live with cameras inside and outside the spacecraft.

Three yuhangyuan (astronauts) will blast off on a Long-March II-F rocket sometime between 25 and 30 September.

For the spacewalk, two crew members will go into the spacecrafts vacuum module. One yuhangyuan will carry out the spacewalk; the other is there to monitor the activity and assist in case of an emergency.

Two types of spacesuits - one made in China, the other from Russia - will be carried up on the flight.

Spaceflight analyst Dr Morris Jones commented that China might want to test the suits against each other. Alternatively, he said, it might not be ready or willing to fly a mission exclusively with its own suits.

The crew members, whose identities have not been released, have been training in a water tank to get used to weightlessness and to study procedures for the flight.

Previous reports in state media had put the launch of the spacecraft in October, possibly during the National Day holiday.

Technicians have been busily checking the readiness of the spacecraft, which will carry the crew into orbit on a mission lasting up to five days.

In 2003, China became only the third country in the world to send a human into orbit. It followed with a two-man mission in 2005.

According to the BBC report, this flight will be more technically demanding than the last.

The Shenzhou spacecraft closely resembles the Russian Soyuz capsules, but is substantially larger. Unlike the Soyuz, it has an orbital module that is equipped with its own propulsion, allowing autonomous flight.

Testing of the spacecraft and the Long-March II-F rocket which will loft it into orbit is now complete, according to a Chinese space official.

Engineers have reportedly made over 30 technical improvements to the new rocket.

There were some rocket vibrations after it took off which sometimes made our astronauts experience physical discomfort, Jin Muchun, the Long-March II-F’’s chief designer, had told a state-owned television channel in July.

So, we have been trying to eliminate the vibrations by changing the frequency of the engine and the electric circuit of the rocket, he added.

According to reports, a small satellite will also be launched during the mission. (ANI)

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