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Shenzhou VII Astronauts to Walk in Space
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China's third manned-spaceship will carry three astronauts to accomplish missions like walking in space, repairing outside the spacecraft and installing facilities in outer space, said Yang Liwei on Wednesday, the country's first astronaut who was launched into obit in October 2003.

Shortly after the Shenzhou VII launch, China will also establish its own space station, said Yang during this year's Air show China - the only international aerospace exhibition in China.

China's space station will consists of three major parts - station, orbit capsule and returning capsule.

Shenzhou VII will be equipped with an individual pressure cabin for astronauts' pressure reduction before they go for a space walk, which will be the first time in China's manned space history.

Each astronaut visiting the outside of the spaceship will wear a US$20 million space suit.

The 100-kilogram space suits for Shenzhou VII differentiate from the suits used for the astronauts in Shenzhou V and VI, because space walks require an independent support system, including its own oxygen, liquid and electricity supply - so they can live, work and communicate outside the cabin.

The successful mission of launching Yang into orbit earned China the distinction of becoming only the third country, after the former Soviet Union and the United States, to launch people into space.

Two years later, the Shenzhou VI spaceflight carried two astronauts and lasted 115 hours and 32 minutes, more than five times the duration of the Shenzhou V mission. During the five-day voyage, the astronauts for Shenzhou VI accomplished moving from the re-entry capsule to the orbit capsule for the first time in China's manned space history.

(Shanghai Daily November 2, 2006)

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