The Feitian spacesuit was modelled after the Orlan-M spacesuit developed by Russia. The two kinds of suits are similar in shape and volume and are designed for spacewalks of up to seven hours, providing oxygen and allowing for the excretion of bodily waste.
The suit is reported to have cost $4.4 million, and weighs 120 kg (260 lb). The name Fēi tiān literally and separately means "flying" and "sky" in Mandarin. It is a reference to the apsara, translated as feitian, or the "flying deva", in Chinese, and most famously depicted in Chinese art in the grottoes of Dunhuang. Images of the feitian from Dunhuang appear on the arm badge of the space suit.
^"三匹"骏马"，星夜伴"飞天"起航 (Three steeds embark on starry night with Feitian)" (in Chinese). Xinhua. September 28, 2008. Retrieved October 1, 2008.: "“我们想过很多名字，但最终决定把国产航天服命名为‘飞天’。”周建平说，“我们希望，将来我们能够像敦煌壁画上的飞天一样，在太空自由地飞翔。”" ["'We considered many names, but eventually decided to name the domestically made space suit "Feitian",' said Zhou Jinping, 'We hope that, in the future we can be just like the feitian of the Dunhuang murals, and fly freely in space.'"]