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Space exhibition ready to blast off in Jing'an

LOCAL space fans got an early look at about 30 components from China's Shenzhou VII spacecraft at the preview of a space exhibition yesterday.

The two-week exhibition will officially open to the public on Wednesday. Three astronauts - Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng - will be there on Sunday. The show ends on July 18.

A trove of items, some used for China's first spacewalk last year, will be on show at the exhibition at the Shanghai Exhibition Center in downtown Jing'an District.

Many of the exhibits arrived in Shanghai last Friday, said Qu Bin, curator of the China Space Museum, one of the exhibition's organizers.

Watched closely by two surveillance cameras and a security guard, the Shenzhou VII return capsule is the highlight of the exhibition. Its surface is burnt black from its reentry.

"I am very lucky to see the real return capsule," one visitor said. "It looks like it was just reclaimed from the landing site."

Among other items on display are a propulsion module and the parachute used by Shenzhou VII when it made its historic 68-hour flight, including a 20-minute spacewalk, on September 27.

A glove worn by Zhai on his spacewalk will also be on display, part of a spacesuit worth 30 million yuan (US$4.4 million).

Space fans can also see a model of the Shenzhou VII control center, where they can push the button to begin the countdown to liftoff.

Photographs taken by six astronauts during China's three manned space flights, including China's first astronaut, Yang Liwei, will also make their debut in the city.

Tickets cost 50 yuan or 30 yuan for students and kids.


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