Mooncake, festival and China's lunar mission

Updated: 2016-09-14 19:07

By Liu Wei(

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Mooncake, festival and China's lunar mission

The video grab taken at the Beijing Space Command and Control Center on Sept. 27, 2008 shows Chinese taikonaut Zhai Zhigang outside the orbit module of the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft during his spacewalk. [Photo/Xinhua]

Check out for how Tiangong 1 inspires children

In 2008, China had its first spacewalker. Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang, who was then 42 years old, ventured out of the earth-orbiting Shenzhou 7 spacecraft on September 27 and became the first Chinese to leave a "footprint in the universe."

China thus became the third country in the world after the United States and the Soviet Union to undertake spacewalk.

China launched its first space lab Tiangong-1 in September 2011 with a design life of two years, in a preparation to put a permanent manned space station into service around 2022.

Tiangong, literally meaning "heaven palace", a phrase in ancient China people describe the sky afar.

In March 2016, Tiangong-1 terminated its data service after an operational orbit of 1,630 days, completing its main missions. It had successfully docked with the Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spacecraft and undertaken a series of experiments.