During September 25-28, 2008, China successfully organized the implementation of Shenzhou VII manned space flight task. The main purpose of this task is to implement the first extravehicular activity by Chinese astronaut, master the technologies relating to extravehicular activity, and carry out the space-related scientific tests such as concomitant satellite flight and satellite data relay. After riding the Shenzhou VII spaceship and flying in the space for 68 hours and 27 minutes, the astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng successfully complete the flight task. During the flight, the astronaut Zhai Zhigang smoothly completed the extravehicular activity. The objective of this task, which says “accurately enter into the orbit, operate normally, smoothly complete the extravehicular activity, and return to ground safely” was achieved. China made breakthrough in extravehicular activity technology for the first time, and realized a major leap in the development of space technologies. This task is another great feat of China in its pursuit of science and technology, is of great importance, and indicates that China has become the third country in the world which independently masters the key technologies relating to extravehicular activity.
As compared with the Shenzhou V and Shenzhou VI manned space flight, the Shenzhou VII manned space flight made breakthrough in a series of key technologies, including the design technology for integrated airlock & living module, the design technology for extravehicular activity procedure, the design technology for relay satellite data terminal system, the design technology for in-orbit test, the localization & application technology for spaceflight products, the design 7 application technology for 3-person carrying capacity of manned spaceship, and the design technology for release of concomitant satellite.
At 21:10:04 on September 25, 2008, the Shenzhou VII spaceship, together with the astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng, was launched by the LongMarch 2F carrier rocket from Jiuquan Launch Center. At 21:20, the Shenzhou VII manned spaceship was separated from the carrier rocket; at 04:05 a.m. on September 26, the Shenzhou VII manned spaceship successfully completed the orbit change and entered into the circular orbit of which the height is about 343km; at 16:34 on September 27 when the flight was in its 29th circle, the ground control center sent the extravehicular activity command, and the astronaut Zhai Zhigang in the Feitian extravehicular space suit made in China and the astronaut Liu Boming in the Sea Hawk extravehicular space suit imported from Russia implemented the extravehicular activity. The astronaut Zhai Zhigang opened the door of the module, and with the assistance of Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng, smoothly stepped out of the module. In face of the camera mounted on the external surface of the module, he waved his hand, saying hello to the people of China and the people of the world. Thereafter, Zhai Zhigang showed the national flag of China. After taking back the sample equipment mounted on the external surface of the module and waling in the space as planned, he safely returned into the re-entry module. At about 17:00, the door of the re-entry module was closed, and the extravehicular activity was completed successfully. At 19:24 on September 27, when the flight was in its 31th circle, the concomitant satellite carried by the spaceship was released successfully. After being released, the concomitant satellite got separated from the spaceship at a slow speed gradually, and then, within a distance of 1km from the spaceship, took picture and video of the spaceship.
At 17:38 on September 28 (Beijing Time), the Shenzhou VII spaceship safely landed at the main landing site in Inner Mongolia, the three astronauts were in good conditions, and the Shenzhou VII manned space flight task was successfully completed. At 11:00 a.m. on October 30, 2009, the Shenzhou VII concomitant satellite, after normally working in the orbit for 400 days and flying around the Earth for 6,350 circles, entered into the atmospheric envelope and fell naturally.