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[i]Chinese Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang completed a spacewalk Saturday afternoon, marking a historic breakthrough in the country's ambitious space program, which will eventually lead to the establishment of a permanent space station.
Donning a 4-million-U.S.dollar homemade Feitian space suit, Zhai slipped out of the orbital module of Shenzhou-7 in a head-out-first position at around 4:43 p.m. (0843 GMT).
He waved to the camera mounted on the service module after pulling himself out of the capsule, video monitors at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) showed.
"Shenzhou-7 is now outside the spacecraft. I feel well. I am here greeting the Chinese people and people of the whole world," the taikonaut reported to the ground control in Beijing.
Minutes after Zhai was outside the capsule, teammate Liu Bomingalso emerged briefly and handed Zhai a Chinese national flag that Zhai waved in the outer space against the backdrop of the blue planet Earth. The third crew member, Jing Haipeng, monitored the ship from inside the re-entry module.
Video monitors at the ground control showed Zhai then slowly leaned towards a test sample of solid lubricant placed outside the orbital module. He took the sample and handed it over to Liu.
Solid lubricant is widely used in spacecraft. The test sample carried by Shenzhou-7 included 11 types of solid lubricants. Chinese scientists said they hoped to improve the property and lifetime of the materials by studying the samples.[/i]
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