On this day September 25, 2008
China launches the spacecraft Shenzhou 7, the third human spaceflight mission of the Chinese space program. The mission, which included an extra-vehicular activity (EVA) carried out by crewmembers Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming, marked the commencement of the second phase of the Chinese government’s Project 921.
The Shenzhou spacecraft carrying the three crewmembers was launched 25 September 2008, by a Long March 2F (CZ-2F) rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center at 21:10 CST.
The mission lasted three days, after which the craft landed safely in Siziwang Banner in central Inner Mongolia on 28 September 2008, at 17:37 CST. The EVA carried out during the flight makes China the third country to have conducted an EVA, after the Soviet Union and the United States.
The Long March 2F rocket launched the Shenzhou 7 into an initial elliptical orbit of 200 x 330 kilometres inclined at 42.4 degrees on 25 September 2008. About seven hours later the spacecraft raised its orbit to a more circular orbit of 330 x 336 km. After three days in space, deorbit manoeuvres began on 28 September at 08:48, and the return module landed at 09:37.
China has been congratulated by a number of foreign leaders for the successful completion of the mission, which marked a number of developments for China’s space program, including several first-time achievements. The Shenzhou 7 Mission won the 2009 Space Achievement Award. from the Space Foundation.