One huge step for China. That is how the space walk by astronaut Zhai Zhigang, the son of a snack-seller, is being portrayed to the world.
As China’s leaders looked on, along with millions watching on state television, the Chinese space programme came of age.
Today’s was only a short space walk, just 15 minutes outside the craft. But the aim was not to break records, but to point out that China could do it, on only its third manned trip into space.
Beijing has big ambitions. It is intent on assembling a space laboratory, and then its own space station, to harness the potential resources in space.
Its all a far cry from the comments of Chinese leader Mao Zedong when he said China couldn’t even launch a potato into space.
This mission took off on Thursday, but was only intended as a weekend getaway. The Shenzhou 7 rocket and its crew will land back in Inner Mongolia tomorrow.