‘How did you feel in space?’ President Hu asks spacewalker

September 27th, 2008 - 8:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Sep 27 (Xinhua) China’s President Hu Jintao asked Chinese astronauts what it was like walking in space after the trio successfully realised the country’s first space walk Saturday. “How did you feel like in space after exiting the module?” Hu asked the astronauts on board the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft, by telephone from the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre (BACC) in a conversation with them.

“I felt superb,” answered Zhai Zhigang, who carried out around 25-minute extra-vehicular activity (EVA), some 343 km above the earth, after floating out of the Shenzhou-7 cabin Saturday afternoon.

“The process of taking on the Feitian spacesuit went smooth,” said Zhai, looking confident and radiant on the screen at the BACC. “In the vast space, I felt proud of our motherland.”

Hu congratulated the astronauts on the successful feat and encouraged them to carry on efforts to fulfill the mission.

“The thing I want to know most is how are you feeling now and how is your work going,” Hu said to the astronauts.

“We feel well,” said Zhai. “We conducted the space scientific tests as planned and the EVA went smoothly.”

Hu hailed the spacewalk as a sign of the country’s progress in the space technology.

“You have made outstanding contribution to our country’s space project,” said Hu. “The country and the Chinese people are grateful to you.”

At 4.43 p.m. (0843 GMT) Saturday, Zhai slipped out of the orbital module of Shenzhou-7 in a head-out-first position, wearing a $4 million homemade Feitian space suit.

China’s first spacewalk marked a remarkable progress in the country’s ambitious space programme, which will eventually lead to the establishment of a permanent space station.

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