Chinese Astronaut Takes Spacewalk

Next up: assembling space station
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 27, 2008 6:52 AM CDT
Chinese astronauts, left to right, Jing Haipeng, Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming during a send-off ceremony Thursday before the launch of the Shenzhou 7 spacecraft.   (AP Photo)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – A Chinese astronaut took the nation's first spacewalk today, floating outside the orbiter module's hatch for about 13 minutes. "Greetings to all the people of the nation and all the people of the world," he declared in a live broadcast on state TV, waving a Chinese flag.

Top Communist Party officials, including President Hu Jintao, watched the spacewalk from a Beijing command center, breaking into applause with the successful completion of each stage of the maneuver. The spacewalk paves the way for assembling a space station, the next major goal of China's manned spaceflight program; the country may also attempt to land a man on the moon in the next decade.