There will be three taikonauts, as China's astronauts are known, aboard the Shenzhou VII and one of them will undertake the space walk. The China Daily quoted senior space engineers as saying on Wednesday that a research team had been set up to conduct a feasibility study for a space station. Wang Yongzhi, former chief designer of China's Manned Space Program, said the launch date had originally been scheduled for after the Olympics (August 8 to 24) and the Paralympics (September 6 to 17). "The Shenzhou VII will be launched some time in October if everything goes as planned," he said on the sidelines of the ongoing session of the 11th National Committee of CPPCC. "The exact launch date will be decided according to weather conditions," he added. The space walk requires high technical standards for security and the life support and energy supply systems, as the taikonauts will spend three to five days in space.
In addition to the space walk, the crew is expected to perform such extra-vehicular work as installing equipment and tightening screws.
Shenzhou VII, to be launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province, will be the country's third manned mission. Shenzhou VI was launched on October 12, 2005, and Shenzhou V on October 15, 2003.
With the launch of Shenzhou V, China became the third country, after the Soviet Union and the United States, to carry out a manned space mission.
China has 14 taikonauts, all male, and undergoing intense training, but the final three have yet to be decided.