The Feitian extra-vehicular activity (EVA) suit is China's first indigenous space suit. [File photo]
The Feitian extra-vehicular activity (EVA) suit is China's first indigenous space suit. It will be worn by one of the two astronauts on board the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft who will carry out a spacewalk. The following is a brief background on the suit.
Feitian, which literally means flying in the sky, is the name of a legendary Buddhist goddess.
The suit has 10 layers and weighs about 120 kilograms. Each suit costs 30 million yuan (about 4.4 million US dollars).
It has a reliability index of 0.977
Chinese scientists spent about four years in developing the Feitian EVA spacesuit. There is a small Chinese national flag on the left arm and the Chinese character "Feitian" on the right arm. It is designed for a spacewalk mission of up to four hours. With flexible limb joints designs, the suits can be donned by occupants ranging from 1.60 to 1.80 meters tall.
A tether is tied to the waist of the astronaut to connect him with the spacecraft.
A mirror is placed at the wrist of the suit to allow the occupant to better operate the controlling devices on the suit.
The EVA space suits are like a mini-spaceship which is composed of garment, equipments and systems to keep the astronauts alive in the outer space and allow them to carry out stipulated tasks.
It provides a pressurized atmosphere, oxygen and temperature control for the astronauts. It shields them from radiation, micrometeoroids and other harmful particles. It also allows the astronauts to communicate with others.
It will take the astronauts about 15 hours to assemble the suit in the spacecraft before their spacewalk. The suits will not be brought back to the earth.
(Xinhua News Agency September 25, 2008)