October 10, 1966|
Longjiang County, Qiqihar
|Rank||Lieutenant colonel, PLAAF|
Time in space
|2d 20h 18m|
|Selection||Chinese Group 1|
Total EVA time
Zhai Zhigang (born October 10, 1966) is a major general in the People's Liberation Army Air Force and a CNSA astronaut. During the Shenzhou 7 mission in 2008, he became the first Chinese citizen to carry out a spacewalk.
Zhai was born in Longjiang County, Qiqihar, Heilongjiang province. He enrolled at the PLA Air Force Aviation University and studied to be a fighter pilot and then as a squadron leader. Zhai became a lieutenant colonel and pilot trainer in the PLAAF after logging 1000 hours of flying time.
In 1996, Zhai was selected to trial for the astronaut program and was selected to be the first group of fourteen in 1998. He was one of three members of the final group to train for the Shenzhou 5 flight. Yang Liwei was picked for the flight, with Zhai Zhigang ranked second ahead of Nie Haisheng. Zhai was one of the six astronauts in the final training for Shenzhou 6. The Ta Kung Pao newspaper had reported that Zhai Zhigang and Nie Haisheng were the leading pair, after having been in the final group of three for Shenzhou 5. However, Zhai had been paired with Wu Jie during training. Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng flew the flight.
Zhai, along with Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng was selected for prime crew on Shenzhou 7, with Zhai as commander, on 17 September 2008. On 25 September 2008, at 21:10 CST, they launched into space as the first three-man crew for China, China's third human spaceflight mission. On 27 September 2008, Zhai became the first Chinese astronaut to spacewalk, completely outside the craft. Fellow crew member Liu Boming stood by at the airlock and could be seen straddling the portal. Zhai successfully completed his spacewalk at 18:25 CST. Zhai wore the Chinese developed Feitian space suit, while Liu wore the Russian derived Orlan-M space suit.
- https://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080916/wl_asia_afp/chinaspace[permanent dead link] Fighter pilot to be China's first space walker: govt
- 航天英雄翟志刚刘伯明天津杨村起飞 (in Chinese). 人民网·天津视窗. Archived from the original on 2010-04-05. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
- CCTV1 live telecast
- CCTV4 live telecast
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zhai Zhigang.|
- "We want to fly higher for China: stories of Zhai Zhigang". PLA Daily. 2003-10-22. Archived from the original on 2006-03-02.
- Zhai Zhigang at the Encyclopedia Astronautica. Accessed 22 July 2005.
- Spacefacts biography of Zhai Zhigang
- "China Prepares for Shenzhou VI Space Flight 13 October – Agency". China News Service. 24 September 2005.[permanent dead link]