Posted September. 25, 2008 08:58,
Chinas third manned space mission will be launched today from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province between 9:07 p.m. and 10:27 p.m.
The official Chinese news agency Xinhua said yesterday that the China Manned Space Program Office will launch the spaceship Shenzhou 7 carrying three astronauts into orbit.
This project will also see Chinas first space walk following the countrys first manned space mission in October 2003 and a space program sending two astronauts into orbit in October 2005.
Chinas space program has three stages, the first of which sent a manned spaceship into space and saw it return. The first step of the second stage is a space walk, the mission of this trip; the second step is spaceship docking; and the last step is the building of a space station. The third and final stage is the construction of a permanent space station and the development of a space shuttle.
The space walk will take place at 4:30 p.m. (Chinese Standard Time) and take between 30 minutes and an hour. It will be aired throughout the world.
Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang in rope-attached astronaut gear will attach all scientific equipment needed to carry out experiments in space to the spaceship in his space walk.
Five aerospace measurement and control centers in Beijing, Xian, Yunnan, Shanghai, and Urumqi, five satellite tracking ships deployed in the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans, and some 10,000 scientists and engineers are also involved in Chinas third manned space mission.
The Hong Kong daily Wenhui Bao said three astronauts - Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng - will arrive at the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in a capsule Tuesday at 5 p.m.
But Xinhua said the space journey will take between three to five days.