Sep 27

First Images of Spacewalk!

Written by Nimrod on Saturday, September 27th, 2008 at 8:56 am
Filed under:General |
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Zhai Zhigang enters space

(Courtesy of MITBBS)

The spacewalk took place between 4:30PM to 5:00PM Beijing Time today and was broadcast live. There was a little bit of wait opening the very tight hatch, and a scare of a false report of “fire”, but otherwise it was a successful, first excursion into space.

On the broadcast, Zhai (Oh-One) was heard breathing heavily and struggling with the hatch, while Liu Boming (Oh-Two) told him to take a deep breath:

Liu: Keep at it, don’t let go yet, don’t let go yet
Zhai: It snaps back by itself… the hatch closed back up
Liu: You hold there, … I’ll lift this
Zhai: Oh-Two, don’t push forward just yet, I’ll give it one more try
Liu: Use normal force, don’t use too much effort, jam it with your body

On the second try, the hatch was fully opened. Zhai emerged into space, waved at the camera, and made the following speech:


Shenzhou 7 reporting, I have exited the craft, and I feel fine. Shenzhou 7 greets the people of our country, and the people of the world! Nation, rest assured, we are determined to complete our mission!

Only a moment later, with Zhai half out and Liu just inside the open hatch, this amazing exchange took place. Jing Haipeng (Oh-Three), who remained in the re-entry module to monitor the spacecraft, reported a fire:

Jing: Instrument shows orbital module has fire, caution to investigate
Mission control: “Beijing” affirmative, report to “Great Wall” … “Great Wall”, this is “Beijing”, instrument shows orbital module has fire, please copy…
Jing: Shenzhou 7 reporting, instruement shows orbital module has fire.
Mission control: “Beijing” affirmative. Oh-Two, please investigate.
Liu: Oh-Two affirmative.

Liu: No fire found, no spark.
Zhai: How could there be a fire in vacuum.
Mission control: “Great Wall”, this is “Beijing” … this is “Great Wall” … “Great Wall” please confirm spacecraft instrument status.

The video signal cut out for a tense minute and we only heard:

Liu: Anyway, Oh-One, we continue.
Zhai: Understood.
Liu: If there is a fire, it is already too late, let it be.

Finally the signal returned, and we see Zhai waving the Chinese flag handed to him by Liu Boming. Turns out there was no fire and everybody breathed a sigh of relief.

Edit: …And, a video. A full-length one here.

There are currently 1 comments highlighted: 16463.

30 Responses to “First Images of Spacewalk!”

  1. MutantJedi Says:


  2. MoneyBall Says:

    that’s it? I thought they were gonna walk along a rope for some hundreds ft or somethin’

  3. FOARP Says:


  4. pug_ster Says:


    I doubt that they want to get far away from the ship because he might not be able to get back in…

  5. Netizen K Says:

    Congrats. Stay grounded.

  6. Allen Says:


    that’s it? I thought they were gonna walk along a rope for some hundreds ft or somethin’

    Actually, that was the scaled back version. The original plan called for high bar, parallel bars, still rings, floor exercise, vault, as well as the pommel horse.

    But considering this was in space, I guess a “space float” is good enough for this time…

  7. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Even though it’s been done for 40 years, still pretty cool to see a person dangling in space, with the earth as the backdrop. That picture never gets old.

  8. bianxiangbianqiao Says:

    Two of the trio hail from the Northeast (Heilongjiang province, as Yang Liwei, China’s first astronaut and another Northeasterner). Is this a coincidence, or is there some specialty in the genetic makeups of Northeasterners that make them better flyers and risk-takers?

  9. wukong Says:

    I tried to watch the online streaming video from cctv.com, but the web server was knocked out due to heavy traffic. :p Fortunately I was still able to watch the spacewalk from a p2p net tv application.

    The walk itself was quite short, only about 20 minutes or so; And our hero Zhai never really got to venture afar from the open hatch. But I understand what Zhai and company did high above the earth are immensely difficult and dangerous, and what they achieved today is an important milestone for China’s rocket scientists and space engineers, and a proud moment for Chinese worldwide who hold China close to their hearts.

    Bravo, Zhai!

  10. wukong Says:


    Better flyers, maybe; Better risk-takers? I seriously doubt it.

    Flying a military jet or spaceship demands extraordinary discipline. They’d hate to think some risk-taker or thrill-seeker is flying their hundreds million dollar equipment like driving a fancy sports car. 😛

  11. Nimrod Says:

    MoneyBall Says:

    that’s it? I thought they were gonna walk along a rope for some hundreds ft or somethin’

    Zhai Zhigang’s main mission, which he completed, was to pick up an apparatus holding an experiment on solid lubricant materials from outside the craft.

  12. Daniel Says:

    I think it’s pretty cool. I read about the future missions in planned, and if everything goes smoothly, a mission to Mars may be possible when I’m really old.

  13. RMBWhat Says:

    That’s cool… but ehm do you people live in the same space as I?

    This brings me back to what I’m talking about with regard to western bias. I’ve read heaps upon heaps of negative comments across the net, all along the line of oh, they are authoritarian, they lied about some stupid press thing, so they (the chi-com government not people! We ain’t racist!) are evil!!! All being conveyed through vigorous hand-waving and none through the critical analysis of the situation.

    Sure, we know Chinese government and China in general has problems, many problems, but what I see is that people are conditioned by the mainstream media such that the criticism and negativity are an automatic response to the mere mentioning of China; all done without any real cognitive processing, that is, stepping back and examining the actual situation at hand.

    Do you guys not see the inane idealogical motives and bias from the entire western media (e.g. Hollywood, music industry, etc), (which BTW is controlled by the globalist elites); leading to controlling of people through factious reactionary instincts?

    Wha? What did I just say? Maybe it’s not that deep and I’m just paranoid. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHhhhhhhhhhhhheeeeeeeeeeeee


    *cartwheels and flips*

  14. RMBWhat Says:

    Anyway, I think this is really cool. Kickass!
    I’m just glad that humans still care about space.

    Ignore what I wrote above lol. I’m just being really paranoid and driven by factious reactionary instincts myself, lol!

  15. carl Says:

    Congratulations to Shenzhou team!

    FYI, someone put a detailed video of the EVA to youtube


    PS:Have you noticed that all three taikonauts are 42 years old? why?

    Because 42 is the answer to life, the universe and everything.


  16. Moneyball Says:

    I didnt mean to belittle what they have done, it’s quite remarkable. Considering what has China achieved on her space-craft pragrams over the last 3 ,4 yrs —- from nothing to this, makes it even more remarkable. I was a system engineer before, I know how hard to make a large system like this to work over a very short period of time, let alone in outer space.

    I recall Mr.Yang JinLin from Pheonix TV said in his show, that China can send people to space and return, held one of the most successful Olympics, but failed to protect her millions of babies from toxic milk formula, and God knows how many other foods. I think the reason is simple, China has built the single best system in the world — strong capitalism coupled with mild nationalism ran by autocratic technocrats — at commanding things top down, in a pipe. But when the efforts need to be initialized bottom up, in a pyramid, this system has largely failed.

    Chinese will be on the moon before they can have clean foods on their tables.

    For those can read Chinese, take a look at QinHui (秦晖) ‘s article, “中国奇迹的形成与未来 改革三十年之我见”. He analyzes China’s current situation better than anybody else I’ve read. Mr.Qin is the most respected liberal intellectual in China, I wonder why he’s largely remained unknown in the west.

  17. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Moneyball:
    “Chinese will be on the moon before they can have clean foods on their tables.” – that’s an interesting assessment and prediction. It perhaps speaks to some misplaced priorities of the current regime.

  18. 卢侨生 Says:

    From a lecture: http://mychinaclub.com/article/43047

  19. Charles Liu Says:

    Wait, one of the photo look fake… U sure those guy are 42? They don’t look 42. Let’s Google the gov.cn domain to see if there’s any fake age spreadsheet evidence.

    Wait, that one guy had chubby cheeks, who let him into space???

  20. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles Liu:
    that has to rank among the top 5 lamest comments I’ve read in the last 4 months on this blog. Don’t you have something better to do with your time?

  21. ChinkTalk Says:

    Congrats to the taikonauts who did some really nice moves up in space from the Zhenzhou VII, there are some pretty nice moves too on earth with the Zhenzhou VII also.


  22. Chops Says:

    “The Chinese-made suit worn by Mr Zhai (US$ 4 million) had to be left behind in space as it was too heavy and bulky to fit in the re-entry capsule, state television said”


  23. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Chops:
    another expensive piece of orbiting space junk to add to the collection 🙂

  24. werew Says:

    “Wait, one of the photo look fake… U sure those guy are 42? They don’t look 42. Let’s Google the gov.cn domain to see if there’s any fake age spreadsheet evidence. Wait, that one guy had chubby cheeks, who let him into space???”

    Hahahaha. Didn’t you get the reference and see that he is satirizing, SKC? How is that lame?

  25. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Werew:
    1. this thread is straight-up, not satire. The satire stuff is in the other mini-post.
    2. Stewart…Colbert….satire. What you referenced…Plain Jane Lame

  26. some random person Says:

    What happened to the stars?

  27. S.K. Cheung Says:

    LOL !!!

    Now Werew, #26, that’s funny.

  28. Charles Liu Says:

    SKC, it IS straight-up. Now there are conflicting reports of Zhai being 41 instead

    #26 is also has a stright-up answer: underexposed background. The brightness near by relative to the darkness afar drowns out the stars, that’s why most photo of the Earth don’t have stars

  29. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles Liu:
    I don’t think the age of the astronaut was a germaine issue in the way you were insinuating with the obvious comparisons, unless there’s some minimum age for Chinese spacewalking that i wasn’t aware of.

    Thanks for explaining #26. I didn’t know that.


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