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China prepares for maiden spacewalk
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China will launch the Shenzhou VII manned spacecraft in late September after successfully completing comprehensive tests. The spacecraft was loaded with fuel on September 7, the Shenzhen Metropolis reported.

The Shenzhou VII will be propelled into orbit by a Long March IIF rocket and will carry three astronauts to orbit the earth at a height of 341 kilometers. One of the astronauts will make an hour-long space walk and the team will also launch a small satellite. More than 30 safety and emergency measures have been put in place to protect the astronaut who will conduct "extra-vehicular activities".

The space walking astronaut will first don his special spacewalking suit in an air lock, after which the atmospheric pressure will be lowered. The space suit used for extra-vehicular activities is radiation-and-ultraviolet proof and resistant to the extreme temperatures the spacewalker will meet while outside the space craft.

After successfully carrying out manned flights in 2003 and 2005, China launched its first lunar probe Chang'e I in October 2007. Chang'e I is expected to orbit the moon for a year while conducting a series of experiments, CRI reported on January.

(China.org.cn by Wu Jin, September 12, 2008)

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