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
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
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.