The Shenzhou 7 spacecraft, carrying a crew of three, is safely in orbit, according to Chinese authorities. THe mission will last at least four days and it to include the first spacewalk by a Chinese. The spacewalk, or EVA, may come as early as Friday. Russia, in a gesture no doubt meant to include a little dig at the United States, has made much of how its experts helped the Chinese prepare for this milestone. The Chinese, as one might expect, have not been mentioning it. In a humorous aside, the official news agency Xinhua published a conversations with the astronauts in orbit - before they had even blasted off.
A former Chinese space official, Zhang Qingwei, said, "We intend to send astronauts to the moon and ultimately to build a lunar outpost." That's very ambitious, and expensive, but who knows? The recent Olympics showcased China's determination to do huge projects that make a splash on the world scene.