The Long March to Shenzhou 7

Five years ago today — September 25, 2008 — China launched Shenzhou 7, their third manned mission,* from the Jiquan launch center on a Long March 2F rocket.

(The Shenzhou 7 capsule on display after its return to earth. Image from Wikimedia Commons.)

Shenzhou 7 carried taikonauts Jing Haipen, Zhai Zhigang, and Liu Boming on a three-day mission that featured China’s first spacewalk to test their space suit design. Interestingly, the space suit itself was named Feitian, after a Chinese goddess who could fly.

*Sorry, PC police, but “human spaceflight mission” doesn’t exactly trip off the tongue.

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