First Chinese astronaut to walk in space on Friday

September 24th, 2008 - 12:37 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, Sep 24 (ANI): The first Chinese astronaut is likely to walk in space on Friday, a day after spacecraft Shenzhou VII lifts off.

The historic moment will be broadcast live across the world, said Cui Jijun, the commander-in-chief of the missions ground operation on Tuesday. He hoped that the space environment is expected to be fine for the mission.

Shenzhou VII is scheduled to blast off from Jiuquan in Gansu province on Thursday night, Xianhua reported.

The Shenzhou-VII mission entered the countdown stage after the final check on the spacecraft, the carrier rocket and the ground operation system was completed on Tuesday morning.

Scientists simulated the ignition of the rocket and the in-flight moves of the capsule to test how the observation, control and communication systems at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center work.

The rocket will be loaded with fuel after an overall quality review and approval of the mission headquarters. And all the settings of the spacecraft and the observation, control and communication systems will be frozen till the launch.

The spacecraft, its Long-March II-F carrier rocket and the escape tower were fitted on the launch pad on Saturday.

Technicians checked the rocket and the spacecraft on Monday to test how it functioned, Cui said.

The space environment will be stable and calm during the mission, the Center for Space Environment Research and Forecast (CSERF), affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Cui said.

A new purpose-built media center will be opened in Beijing tomorrow for overseas journalists covering China’’s first spacewalk mission. This is the first time the country will open its space mission to the foreign media. (ANI)

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