In the wake of a superb hosting of the Olympics, China has wowed the world again by achieving the first spacewalk ever made by a Chinese person. In orbit 213 miles above the earth today Colonel Zhai Zhigang took a walk in space.
The official commentary declared it to be “a small step by Col. Zhai Zhigang, but a historical leap in China’s space dreams”, in a carefully phrased echo of what Neil Armstrong said when he became the first human to set foot on the Moon.
China is a latecomer to the space race, but this achievement certainly shows the world that China is a serious player, and that the Middle Kingdom has the ability to achieve its high ambitions. The fact that all of this has been shown live on TV is indicative of China’s increasing confidence.
The Chinese Shenzhou VII spacecraft blasted off at 9:07 p.m. on Thursday 25th September, 2008, carrying three Chinese astronauts into space on a three-day mission which is China’s third manned space mission in five years.
In recent years the Chinese government has spent billions of dollars creating a space program that may well enable China to establish a space station by 2020, and eventually even put a man on the moon.