Planned Spacewalk Would Be Giant Leap for Chinese

Astronauts to launch tomorrow would make China only third nation to accomplish feat
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 24, 2008 4:33 PM CDT
A Chinese soldier stands guard near the Shenzhou VII in Jiuquan, northwestern China; the craft is scheduled for launch tomorrow, carrying astronauts who plan a spacewalk.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – China is set to become the third nation to send a human strolling through space this week, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The shuttle Shenzhou VII will launch tomorrow with a crew of three, one of whom will don a Chinese- or Russian-made spacesuit for the spacewalk, seen as another signal of China’s arrival among top-tier world powers.

"With the huge amount of money spent and the high-tech capacity, the two things will make the world believe that China is a developed country, not a developing country," says a Chinese university official of the effect of the spacewalk and this summer's Olympic Games. Experts say the ultimate goal of China's space program is a moon landing.