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Home >> Sci-Edu
UPDATED: 07:37, July 20, 2006
Better not to piss in diaper in space, says China's first spaceman
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"Better not to piss in diaper," said China's first man in space, "Baby doesn't like it, neither does an adult."

Senior Colonel Yang Liwei of the Chinese astronaut brigade told a curious audience who questioned Yang about his experience in the country's first space mission, Shenzhou-5, in October 2003.

So far, Yang and other two Chinese astronauts who flied the second space mission in October 2005, had never pissed in a diaper, though they all wore it at the time. There was a toilet in the spaceship, but it could not be used before the spaceship entered the orbit.

"Astronaut does a very hard job, but it is also a job that makes us feel very proud," said Yang, at a seminar of the current 36th Committee on Space Research Scientific Assembly on Wednesday.

Astronauts have to suffer from a gravity eight times of their own weight during the training in a ground-based centrifuge, and it is so hard that the astronauts' face were distorted under the pressure and tears ran out by its own, Yang told the audience.

However, none of these Chinese astronauts have demanded for a halt during the training ever since the Chinese astronaut brigade was established in 1998, he noted.

Like Yang, all Chinese astronauts were selected from pilots of fighter plane of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force. So far, these Chinese astronauts have been trained for more than eight years in the Space City in the northern suburbs of Beijing.

The whole study and training program for Chinese astronauts is divided into four phases, namely the study on basic theories regarding space flight, the study on technology of space vehicle, the study on piloting a space vehicle, and training activities on the launch pad.

The training in Russia was also very difficult. Once some Chinese astronauts trained in Russia's Arctic area braved a minus 52 centigrade temperature for three days, in attempt to test their abilities of survival.

The food supply was quite limited, but the Chinese brought back one-day's food from the Arctic training. "Why did they bright back the food?" he said, "They did it for research."

Yang, the 413th Earth man to enter the outerspace, flied 1,350 hours of fighter plane in 15 years. After two years of selection, he became an astronaut.

"When the spaceship entered the outerspace, I saw my beautiful homeland," he said to recall his first space mission, "I was shocked by the view."

Seeing through the window, Yang viewed the spaceship's sail lit up by the Sun, the blue Earth, the slight clouds over the Earth, China's coastline, the seas and oceans. "All these made me feel the greatness of the Mankind, the greatness of the Chinese Nation, and the greatness of our nation's power in science and technology, " he said.

The Chinese astronaut denied that Chinese space vehicles are copies of the Soyuz of the former Soviet Union. "All spaceships are similar in their shape, because the space environment requests such a shape," he explained.

When Soviet astronaut Yuri Gagalin traveled in space for the first time in human history, he stayed in space under a gravity nine times of his own weight.

For Yang during his Shenzhou-5 flight, it was only four times of his own weight, which is affordable for almost any person in good health.

"It is a matter of technological development and it has nothing to do with copying," he said.

Chinese astronauts will take a space walk when they fly Shenzhou-7, he disclosed. As for a manned moon mission by Chinese, Yang said it is too early to mention it and no Chinese astronaut has been trained for this purpose.

Source: Xinhua

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