Zhai Zhigang To Be China’s First Man to Walk in Space After 10 Year Wait

The Times Online reports on the upcoming September 25 manned space mission. While the mission is China’s third, it marks the first time a Chinese man will have walked in space.

A 42-year-old fighter pilot whose mother sold sunflower seeds on the street to pay for his education is to become China’s first man to walk in space.

Zhai Zhigang, who holds the rank of colonel in the People’s Liberation Army, will join two other astronauts on board the Shenzhou VII for China’s third manned space mission when it blasts off on September 25 for a 68-hour flight.

…China has ambitious plans for space and its programme is an immense source of national pride. The spacewalk, timed just after the close of the Paralympics on September 17 and the Olympics last month, will take place on the crest of a wave of patriotic fervour. China sent an unmanned space ship to orbit the moon last year, the first step in a three-stage lunar exploration project. A manned lunar voyage is planned for some time after 2017.

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