China Astronauts Get Ready for First Spacewalk

By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 26, 2008 10:40 AM CDT
China's three astronauts, Jing Haipeng, Zhai Zhigang, and Liu Boming watch their flight manuals float in zero gravity.    (AP Photo/CCTV via APTN)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – China's 3-man spacecraft is now safely in orbit and all systems are go for the nation's first spacewalk tomorrow, reports Reuters. One of the astronauts is set to spend 40 minutes outside the shuttle in a $4.4 million Chinese space suit. Beijing plans to build a permanent space station within the next decade, and could eventually shoot for a moon landing.

"The worst-case scenario for me is becoming a real spaceman, that is, never coming back again once I get out of the spacecraft," said astronaut Zhai Zhigang, who will do the spacewalking honors tomorrow. He added that he's sure his equipment will not fail. The trip is China’s third manned mission into space, improved this time by an onboard toilet. (The last two crews, in 2003 and 2005, used diapers.)