China is scheduled to launch the Shenzhou VII manned spacecraft at about 9:10 pm on September 25. The forecast indicates slight wind and clear ground visibility at that time, said Huang Chunping, Rocket System consultant for the Chinese Manned Space Program, on September 11.
According to an Oriental Morning Post report on September 12, Shenzhou VII, carried by the Long March IIF rocket, will lift off in daylight when conditions are expected to be no rainfall, wind velocity at less than eight meters per second, and ground visibility at more than 20 kilometers. There should be no thunder or lightning within a 30 to 40 kilometer radius of the launch site for a period of eight hours before the launch, and one hour after it.
Experts said the spacecraft will soon be "basking in the late-September sunshine" and the scheduled angle of the sun will be favorable for the astronaut to conduct extra-vehicular activities.
According to Huang, the astronaut will walk in space after the craft has made five orbits at an altitude of 341 kilometers from the earth. A satellite launched during the space flight will help to shoot three-dimensional photos of the spacecraft in space and the astronaut's space-walk.
This is the first time that China will send an astronaut to walk in space, and the extra-vehicular activities will last for one hour, Shenzhen Metropolis Newspaper reported recently.
(China.org.cn by Wu Jin, September 12, 2008)