In Brief

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 28 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 28 September, 2008, 12:00am

'No plans' to recruit women for space programme

China has no timetable for female astronauts even though the China Astronaut Research and Training Centre will recruit new blood after the return of Shenzhou VII, said Wang Zhaoyao , deputy director of the nation's manned space programme. Despite other nations sending women into space, China had not yet laid out a specific training programme for women, Mr Wang said. He said astronaut training was harsh and required up to 10 years of training. Earlier, China's first astronaut Yang Liwei said the country's space equipment had only been designed for men, including toilets, so it would take time for it to devise another system for women. Mr Wang said that because of the spacewalk, people from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan were more interested in space. Minnie Chan

The write stuff for space

Spacesuits, a space toilet, space food, and now, space pens. According to state media, astronauts have to make a diary entry every day of the mission, documenting every incident for history. Regular pens, however, do not work in zero gravity. The special space pens cost 1,000 yuan (HK$1,137) each, the People's Daily website reported. Chloe Lai

Reason behind spacewalk timing

Holding the country's first spacewalk between 4.30pm and 5pm was to ensure the historic mission was completed before sunset, the mainland's media said. The timing allowed astronauts sufficient sunlight to complete their tasks, said. The sunlight also kept the spacecraft warm. Chloe Lai

Astronauts start to pack up

All food packages and bottled water that had been opened had to be moved from the orbit module to the re-entry capsule before the spacewalk. Astronauts started moving 'home' at 10am, Xinhuanet reported. Unsealed containers would release air once the orbit module started to depressurise, affecting the process, the news website said. Sealed packages would only swell when they depressurised. Chloe Lai