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China's astronaut outfitters design material for spacewalk suits 2007-06-01 08:10:59
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    BEIJING, June 1 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists have developed a material that the country's astronauts can wear for the country's first planned spacewalks on the Shenzhou VII mission next year, according to a Beijing newspaper.

    The first batch of 300 square meters of the material was being manufactured, the Beijing Science and Technology Daily said.

    "The surface material, made up of advanced synthetic fabric, boasts characteristics such as fire and radiation resistance that meet spacewalk requirements," the newspaper quoted Pang Zhihao, a Chinese space expert, as saying.

    The surface material should protect astronauts from extreme heat on the side exposed to the sun at temperatures more than 200 degrees Celsius, and extreme cold on the shaded side, said Pang.

    The material can also protect astronauts from injury from floating micro-meteoroids in space, Pang added.

    "There will be great differences between Shenzhou VII spacesuits and previous ones," Pang said.

    China's next manned space flight Shenzhou VII, the third in its space program, is scheduled to take place in 2008, and three astronauts are expected to undertake spacewalks.

    Pang said the Shenzhou VII spacewalk suit was designed to be like a small aircraft with a propeller allowing astronauts to move freely in space, the newspaper report said.

    The suit would automatically supply nourishment, oxygen up to seven hours and about 1.9 kilolitres of water, it said, adding a drainage system would let out carbon dioxide and wastewater.

    China's first manned spacecraft, Shenzhou V, blasted off in October 2003, making China the third nation after the Soviet Union and the United States to send a human into space. The second, Shenzhou VI, with two astronauts circled the Earth for five days before returning in October 2005.

Editor: Xiao Jie
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