‘We were ready to sacrifice’: Chinese astronaut reflects on China’s first spacewalk 13 yrs ago
Taikonauts Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo completed a spacewalk on Sunday wearing the latest Chinese-designed spacesuits. With this mission China is reaching another milestone in space after that important achievement in 2008.
Recalling the breathtaking moments during his first spacewalk 13 years ago during the Shenzhou-7 mission, Liu recognized that he was ready to sacrifice himself in case of an accident.
On September 25, 2008, taikonauts Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng started their journey on Shenzhou-7 spacecraft.
On September 27, just as Zhai and Liu were preparing to carry out China’s first spacewalk, a fire alarm suddenly went off in the orbital module. The taikonauts went on immediate alert as the orbital module could explode in space with one spark.
At a time when the eyes of millions of Chinese were upon them, the taikonauts had to make the difficult choice of checking out the alarm or going ahead with the mission.
Liu later said in an interview that he thought the mission was the priority and his life and personal safety were insignificant in comparison with the national interest.
The two taikonauts waved the Five-Starred Red Flag in space and greeted the world immediately after exiting the capsule, marking an exciting scene for all Chinese.
Liu later said they were ready to sacrifice when they waved the flag for the whole world.
Fortunately, a final investigation revealed that the fire alarm was false and the spacewalk of the Shenzhou-7 mission was a complete success.
From that breathtaking moment in 2008, up until today’s successful spacewalk at the space station, China has made countless efforts and demonstrated its determination to become a major space power.