Major general is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general; the disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the confusing phenomenon whereby a lieutenant general outranks a major general while a major outranks a lieutenant. In the Commonwealth and the United States, it is a division commander's rank subordinate to the rank of lieutenant general and senior to the ranks of brigadier and brigadier general. In the Commonwealth, major general is equivalent to the navy rank of rear admiral, in air forces with a separate rank structure, it is equivalent to air vice-marshal. In some countries, including much of Eastern Europe, major general is the lowest of the general officer ranks, with no brigadier-grade rank. In the old Austro-Hungarian Army, the major general was called a Generalmajor. Today's Austrian Federal Army still uses the same term. General de Brigada is the lowest rank of general officers in the Brazilian Army. A General de Brigada wears two-stars as this is the entry level for general officers in the Brazilian Army.
See Military ranks of Brazil and Brigadier for more information. In the Canadian Armed Forces, the rank of major-general is both a Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force rank equivalent to the Royal Canadian Navy's rank of rear-admiral. A major-general is the equivalent of a naval flag officer; the major-general rank is senior to the ranks of brigadier-general and commodore, junior to lieutenant-general and vice-admiral. Prior to 1968, the Air Force used the rank of air vice-marshal, instead; the rank insignia for a major-general in the Royal Canadian Air Force is a wide braid under a single narrow braid on the cuff, as well as two silver maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown. In the Canadian Army, the rank insignia is a wide braid on the cuff, as well as two gold maple leaves beneath crossed sword and baton, all surmounted by St. Edward's Crown, it is worn on the shoulder straps of the service dress tunic, on slip-ons on other uniforms. On the visor of the service cap are two rows of gold oak leaves.
Major-generals are addressed as "general" and name, as are all general officers. Major-generals are entitled to staff cars. In the Estonian military, the major general rank is called kindralmajor; the Finnish military equivalent is kenraalimajuri in Finnish, generalmajor in Swedish and Danish. The French equivalent to the rank of major general is général de division. In the French military, major général is not a rank but an appointment conferred on some generals of général de corps d'armée rank, acting as head of staff of one of the armed forces; the major general assists the chief of staff of the French army with matters such as human resources and discipline, his role is analogous with the British Army position of Adjutant-General to the Forces. The position of major général can be considered the equivalent of a deputy chief of staff; the five major generals are: the Major General of the Armed Forces, head of the General Staff, the Major General of the Army, the Major General of the Navy, the Major General of the Gendarmerie, the Major General of the Air Force.
In the French Army, Major General is a position and the major general is of the rank of corps general. The French army had some sergent-majors généraux called sergents de bataille, whose task was to prepare the disposition of the army on the field before a battle; these sergents-majors généraux became a new rank, the maréchal de camp, the equivalent of the rank of major general. However, the term of major général was not forgotten and used to describe the appointment of armies chiefs of staff. One well-known French major général was Marshal Louis Alexandre Berthier. In addition,maréchal de camp was renamed général de brigade in 1793; the rank was decided to correspond to brigadier general after WWⅡ. In Georgia, the rank major-general has one star as for security forces; the army, does not follow the traditional soviet model and uses the now more common two-star insignia. The German Army and Luftwaffe referred to the rank as Generalmajor until 1945. Prior to 1945, the rank of Generalleutnant was used to define a division commander, whereas Generalmajor was a brigade commander.
With the remilitarization of Germany in 1955 on West Germany's admission to NATO, the Heer adopted the rank structure of the U. S. with the authority of the three lower ranks being moved up one level, the rank of Brigadegeneral added below them. The rank of Generaloberst was no longer used; the Nationale Volksarmee of the German Democratic Republic continued the use Generalmajor, abbreviated as "GenMaj", as the lowest general officer rank until reunification in 1990. It was equivalent to Konteradmiral. In the Magyar Honvédség, the equivalent rank to major general is vezérőrnagy. In the Iranian army and air force, the ranks above colonel are sartip dovom, sarlashkar and arteshbod.
Neil Alden Armstrong was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer, the first person to walk on the Moon. He was a naval aviator, test pilot, university professor. A graduate of Purdue University, Armstrong studied aeronautical engineering with his college tuition paid for by the U. S. Navy under the Holloway Plan, he became a midshipman in 1949, a naval aviator the following year. He saw action in the Korean War. In September 1951, he was hit by anti-aircraft fire while making a low bombing run, was forced to bail out. After the war, he completed his bachelor's degree at Purdue and became a test pilot at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics High-Speed Flight Station at Edwards Air Force Base in California, he flew the North American X-15 seven times. He was a participant in the U. S. Air Force's Man in Space X-20 Dyna-Soar human spaceflight programs. Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in the second group, selected in 1962, he made his first spaceflight as commander of Gemini 8 in March 1966, becoming NASA's first civilian astronaut to fly in space.
During this mission with pilot David Scott, he performed the first docking of two spacecraft. During training for Armstrong's second and last spaceflight as commander of Apollo 11, he had to eject from the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle moments before a crash. In July 1969, Armstrong and Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first people to land on the Moon, spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the command and service module; when Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, he famously said: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Along with Collins and Aldrin, Armstrong was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon. President Jimmy Carter presented Armstrong with the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, Armstrong and his former crewmates received a Congressional Gold Medal in 2009. After he resigned from NASA in 1971, Armstrong taught in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at the University of Cincinnati until 1979.
He served on the Apollo 13 accident investigation, on the Rogers Commission, which investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. He acted as a spokesman for several businesses, appeared in advertising for the automotive brand Chrysler starting in January 1979. Armstrong was born on August 5, 1930, near Wapakoneta, Ohio, to Stephen Koenig Armstrong and Viola Louise née Engel, he was of German and Scots-Irish ancestry, had a younger sister, a younger brother, Dean. His father worked as an auditor for the Ohio state government, the family moved around the state living in sixteen towns over the next fourteen years. Armstrong's love for flying grew during this time, having started early when his father took his two-year-old son to the Cleveland Air Races; when he was five or six, he experienced his first airplane flight in Warren, when he and his father took a ride in a Ford Trimotor known as the "Tin Goose". His father's last move was in 1944, back to Wapakoneta. Armstrong attended Blume High School, took flying lessons at the grassy Wapakoneta airfield.
He earned a student flight certificate on his sixteenth birthday soloed in August, all before he had a driver's license. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout; as an adult, he was recognized by the Boy Scouts of America with its Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and Silver Buffalo Award. On July 18, 1969, while flying toward the Moon, Armstrong greeted the Scouts. Among the few personal items that he carried with him to the Moon and back was a World Scout Badge. In 1947, at age 17, Armstrong began studying aeronautical engineering at Purdue University, he was the second person in his family to attend college. He was accepted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, but an uncle who had attended MIT dissuaded him from attending, telling him that it was not necessary to go all the way to Cambridge, for a good education, his college tuition was paid for under the Holloway Plan. Successful applicants committed to two years of study, followed by two years of flight training and one year of service in the U.
S. Navy as an aviator completion of the final two years of their bachelor's degree. Armstrong did not take courses in naval science, nor did he join the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at Purdue. Armstrong's call-up from the Navy arrived on January 26, 1949, requiring him to report to Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida for flight training with class 5-49. After passing the medical examinations, he became a midshipman on February 24, 1949. Flight training was conducted in a North American SNJ trainer, in which he soloed on September 9, 1949. On March 2, 1950, he made his first aircraft carrier landing on the USS Cabot, an achievement he considered comparable to his first solo flight, he was sent to Naval Air Station Corpus Christi in Texas for training on the Grumman F8F Bearcat, culminating in a carrier landing on the USS Wright. On August 16, 1950, Armstrong was informed by letter that he was a qualified naval aviator, his mother and sister attended his graduation ceremony on August 23, 1950.
Armstrong's assignment was to Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 7 at NAS San Diego. On November 27, 1950, he was assigned to VF-51, an all-jet squadron, becoming its youngest officer, made
Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin was a Soviet pilot and cosmonaut. He became the first human to journey into outer space when his Vostok spacecraft completed one orbit of the Earth on 12 April 1961. Gagarin became an international celebrity and was awarded many medals and titles, including Hero of the Soviet Union, his nation's highest honour. Vostok 1 was his only spaceflight, but he served as the backup crew to the Soyuz 1 mission, which ended in a fatal crash. Gagarin served as the deputy training director of the Cosmonaut Training Centre outside Moscow, subsequently named after him. Gagarin died in 1968; the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale awards the Yuri A. Gagarin Gold Medal in his honour. Yuri Gagarin was born 9 March 1934 near Gzhatsk, his parents worked on a collective farm: Alexey Ivanovich Gagarin as a carpenter and bricklayer, Anna Timofeyevna Gagarina as a milkmaid. Yuri was the third of four children: older brother Valentin, older sister Zoya, younger brother Boris. Like millions of people in the Soviet Union, the Gagarin family suffered during Nazi occupation in World War II.
Klushino was occupied in November 1941 during the German advance on Moscow, an officer took over the Gagarin residence. The family was allowed to build a mud hut 3 by 3 metres inside, on the land behind their house, where they spent a year and nine months until the end of the occupation, his two older siblings were deported by the Germans to Poland for slave labour in 1943, did not return until after the war in 1945. In 1946, the family moved to Gzhatsk. In 1950, Gagarin entered into an apprenticeship at age 16 as a foundryman at the Lyubertsy Steel Plant near Moscow, enrolled at a local "young workers" school for seventh grade evening classes. After graduating in 1951 from both the seventh grade and the vocational school with honours in moldmaking and foundry work, he was selected for further training at the Saratov Industrial Technical School, where he studied tractors. While in Saratov, Gagarin volunteered for weekend training as a Soviet air cadet at a local flying club, where he learned to fly — at first in a biplane and in a Yak-18 trainer.
He earned extra money as a part-time dock labourer on the Volga River. He applied to attend the First Chkalov Air Force Pilot's School in Orenburg and was accepted as a cadet, he began his military training by flying Yak-18s. Gagarin was promoted to cadet-sergeant on 22 February 1956. Before he was permitted to fly a single-seat aircraft, he was required to show sufficient proficiency to a flight instructor. In one training incident, Gagarin was flying with an instructor, his takeoff and flight was acceptable, but while landing the instructor realized Gagarin was descending too and took over the controls. An identical incident occurred in another training flight two weeks later; this was grounds for Gagarin's dismissal from the flight school. The commander of the regiment saw Gagarin performing fitness training alone in the rain, they decided to give Gagarin another chance at landing. The instructor gave Gagarin a cushion to sit on. While the landing was still rough, it was within acceptable limits and Gagarin was permitted to solo.
He soloed in a MiG-15 in 1957. He became a lieutenant in the Soviet Air Forces on 5 November 1957 after he accumulated 166 hours and 47 minutes of flight time, he graduated the next day. After graduation, he was assigned to the Luostari airbase in Murmansk Oblast, close to the Norwegian border, where terrible weather made flying risky, his assignment there was for two years. Three months into his assignment, he became a military third class. On 6 November 1959, he received the rank of senior lieutenant. In 1960, after an extensive search and selection process, Gagarin was chosen with 19 other pilots for the Soviet space program. Gagarin was further selected for an elite training group known as the Sochi Six, from which the first cosmonauts of the Vostok programme would be chosen. Gagarin and other prospective candidates were subjected to experiments designed to test physical and psychological endurance. Gagarin experienced microgravity with the use of a drop tower, which allowed for 2–3 seconds of weightlessness.
The eventual choices for the first launch were Gagarin and Gherman Titov due to their performance during training sessions as well as their physical characteristics — space was limited in the small Vostok cockpit, both men were short. Gagarin was 1.57 metres tall. In August 1960, when Gagarin was one of 20 possible candidates, a Soviet Air Force doctor evaluated his personality as follows: Modest. Gagarin was a favoured candidate by his peers; when the 20 candidates were asked to anonymously vote for which other candidate they would like to see as the first to fly, all but t
An aircraft pilot or aviator is a person who controls the flight of an aircraft by operating its directional flight controls. Some other aircrew members, such as navigators or flight engineers, are considered aviators, because they are involved in operating the aircraft's navigation and engine systems. Other aircrew members, such as flight attendants and ground crew, are not classified as aviators. In recognition of the pilots' qualifications and responsibilities, most militaries and many airlines worldwide award aviator badges to their pilots; the first recorded use of the term aviator was in 1887, as a variation of "aviation", from the Latin avis, coined in 1863 by G. de la Landelle in Aviation Ou Navigation Aérienne. The term aviatrix, now archaic, was used for a female aviator; these terms were used more in the early days of aviation, when airplanes were rare, connoted bravery and adventure. For example, a 1905 reference work described the Wright brothers' first airplane: "The weight, including the body of the aviator, is a little more than 700 pounds".
To ensure the safety of people in the air and on the ground, early aviation soon required that aircraft be under the operational control of a properly trained, certified pilot at all times, responsible for the safe and legal completion of the flight. The Aéro-Club de France delivered the first certificate to Louis Blériot in 1908—followed by Glenn Curtiss, Léon Delagrange, Robert Esnault-Pelterie; the British Royal Aero Club followed in 1910 and the Aero Club of America in 1911. Civilian pilots fly aircraft of all types for pleasure, charity, or in pursuance of a business, or commercially for non-scheduled and scheduled passenger and cargo air carriers, corporate aviation, forest fire control, law enforcement, etc; when flying for an airline, pilots are referred to as airline pilots, with the pilot in command referred to as the captain. There are 290,000 airline pilots in the world in 2017 and aircraft simulator manufacturer CAE Inc. forecasts a need for 255,000 new ones for a population of 440,000 by 2027, 150,000 for growth and 105,000 to offset retirement and attrition: 90,000 in Asia-Pacific, 85,000 in Americas, 50,000 in Europe and 30,000 in Middle East & Africa.
Boeing expects 790,000 new pilots in 20 years from 2018, 635,000 for commercial aviation, 96,000 for business aviation and 59,000 for helicopters: 33% in Asia Pacific, 26% in North America, 18% in Europe, 8% in the Middle East, 7% in Latin America, 4% in Africa and 3% in Russia/ Central Asia. By November 2017, due a shortage of qualified pilots, some pilots are leaving corporate aviation to return to airlines. In one example a Global 6000 pilot, making $250,000 a year for 10 to 15 flight hours a month, returned to American Airlines with full seniority. A Gulfstream G650 or Global 6000 pilot might earn between $245,000 and $265,000, recruiting one may require up to $300,000. At the other end of the spectrum, constrained by the available pilots, some small carriers hire new pilots who need 300 hours to jump to airlines in a year, they may recruit non-career pilots who have other jobs or airline retirees who want to continue to fly. The number of airline pilots could decrease as automation replaces copilots and pilots as well.
In January 2017 Rhett Ross, CEO of Continental Motors said "my concern is that in the next two decades—if not sooner—automated and autonomous flight will have developed sufficiently to put downward pressure on both wages and the number and kind of flying jobs available. So if a kid asks the question now and he or she is 18, 20 years from now will be 2037 and our would-be careerist will be 38—not mid-career. Who among us thinks aviation and for-hire flying will look like it does now?" Christian Dries, owner of Diamond Aircraft Austria said "Behind the curtain, aircraft manufacturers are working on a single-pilot cockpit where the airplane can be controlled from the ground and only in case of malfunction does the pilot of the plane interfere. The flight will be autonomous and I expect this to happen in the next five to six years for freighters."In August 2017 financial company UBS predicted pilotless airliners are technically feasible and could appear around 2025, offering around $35bn of savings in pilot costs: $26bn for airlines, $3bn for business jets and $2.1bn for civil helicopters.
Regulations have to adapt with air cargo at the forefront, but pilotless flights could be limited by consumer behaviour: 54% of 8,000 people surveyed are defiant while 17% are supportive, with acceptation progressively forecast. AVweb reporter Geoff Rapoport stated, "pilotless aircraft are an appealing prospect for airlines bracing for the need to hire several hundred thousand new pilots in the next decade. Wages and training costs have been rising at regional U. S. airlines over the last several years as the major airlines have hired pilots from the regionals at unprecedented rates to cover increased air travel demand from economic expansion and a wave of retirements". Going to pilotless airliners could be done in one bold step or in gradual improvements like by reducing the cockpit crew for long haul missions or allowing single pilot cargo aircraft; the industry has not decided
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is a Chinese space vehicle launch facility located in the Gobi desert, Inner Mongolia. It is part of the Dongfeng Aerospace City. Although the facility is geographically located within Ejin Banner of Inner Mongolia's Alxa League, it is named after the nearest city, Jiuquan in Gansu Province, it was founded in the first of China's four spaceports. More Chinese launches have occurred at Jiuquan than anywhere else; as with all Chinese launch facilities it is remote and closed to foreigners. The Satellite Launch Center is a part of Dongfeng space city known as Base 10 or Dongfeng base, which includes PLAAF test flight facilities, a space museum and a martyr's cemetery. JSLC is used to launch vehicles into lower and medium orbits with large orbital inclination angles, as well as testing medium to long-range missiles, its facilities are state of the art and provide support to every phase of a satellite launch campaign. The site includes the Technical Center, the Launch Complex, the Launch Control Center, the Mission Command and Control Center and various other logistical support systems.
The center may have housing for as many as 20,000 people. The facilities and launch support equipment were modelled on Soviet counterparts and the Soviet Union has provided technical support to Jiuquan; the launch center has been the focus of many of China's ventures into space, including their first satellite Dong Fang Hong 1 in 1970, their first manned space mission Shenzhou 5 on 15 October 2003. Shenzhou 6, the second human spaceflight of China, launched on 12 October 2005 on a Long March rocket from JSLC. Shenzhou 7, the third human spaceflight mission of the Chinese space program, was launched from JSLC on 25 September 2008 by a Long March 2F rocket; the mission, which included an extra-vehicular activity carried out by crewmembers Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming, marked the commencement of the second phase of the Chinese government's Project 921. China's fourth crewed spaceflight, Shenzhou 9, launched from JSLC on 16 June 2012 at 18:37 local time; the 13-day mission included China's first female astronaut and docked with the country's Tiangong-1 space station module on Monday, 18 June 2012.
In August 2016, China launched the first quantum communication satellite, the "Quantum Experiments at Space Scale", from the Center. In August 2018, Chinese private rocket manufacturing startups i-Space and OneSpace launched sub-orbital rockets from the center. Launch Area 2, 2 launch pads: LA-2A: CZ-1, DF-3, DF-5 LA-2B: CZ-2A, CZ-2C, CZ-2D, FB-1The launch pads at Launch Area 2 are located at 41.308833° north, 100.316512° east and 41.306143° north, 100.313229° east. Launch Area 3, 2 launch pads: DF-1, DF-2, R-2. Launch Area 3 is 2.7 km south of Launch Area 2. The launch pads are located at 41.283190° north, 100.304706° east and 41.280457° north, 100.304582° east. Launch Area 4, 2 launch pads, only active complex: SLS-1: CZ-2F launcher with nearby Vertical Assembly Facility. SLS-2: CZ-2C, CZ-2D and CZ-4C, operational since 2003Launch Area 4 is 37.9 km south of Launch Area 3. The launch pads are located at 40.960671° north, 100.298186° east and 40.957893° north, 100.290944° east. Space program of China Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center Xichang Satellite Launch Center Wenchang Satellite Launch Center Base 20 Jiuquan Space Facility on GlobalSecurity.org
Extravehicular activity is any activity done by an astronaut or cosmonaut outside a spacecraft beyond the Earth's appreciable atmosphere. The term most applies to a spacewalk made outside a craft orbiting Earth, but has applied to lunar surface exploration performed by six pairs of American astronauts in the Apollo program from 1969 to 1972. On each of the last three of these missions, astronauts performed deep-space EVAs on the return to Earth, to retrieve film canisters from the outside of the spacecraft. Astronauts used EVA in 1973 to repair launch damage to Skylab, the United States' first space station. A "Stand-up" EVA is when an astronaut does not leave a spacecraft, but is reliant on the spacesuit for environmental support, its name derives from the astronaut "standing up" in the open hatch to record or assist a spacewalking astronaut. EVAs may be untethered. Untethered spacewalks were only performed on three missions in 1984 using the Manned Maneuvering Unit, on a flight test in 1994 of the Simplified Aid For EVA Rescue, a safety device worn on tethered U.
S. EVAs; the Soviet Union/Russia, the United States, China have conducted EVAs. NASA planners invented the term extravehicular activity in the early 1960s for the Apollo program to land men on the Moon, because the astronauts would leave the spacecraft to collect lunar material samples and deploy scientific experiments. To support this, other Apollo objectives, the Gemini program was spun off to develop the capability for astronauts to work outside a two-man Earth orbiting spacecraft. However, the Soviet Union was fiercely competitive in holding the early lead it had gained in manned spaceflight, so the Soviet Communist Party, led by Nikita Khrushchev, ordered the conversion of its single-pilot Vostok capsule into a two- or three-person craft named Voskhod, in order to compete with Gemini and Apollo; the Soviets were able to launch two Voskhod capsules before U. S. was able to launch its first manned Gemini. The Voskhod's avionics required cooling by cabin air to prevent overheating, therefore an airlock was required for the spacewalking cosmonaut to exit and re-enter the cabin while it remained pressurized.
By contrast, the Gemini avionics did not require air cooling, allowing the spacewalking astronaut to exit and re-enter the depressurized cabin through an open hatch. Because of this, the American and Soviet space programs developed different definitions for the duration of an EVA; the Soviet definition begins when the outer airlock hatch is open and the cosmonaut is in vacuum. An American EVA began; the USA has changed its EVA definition since. The first EVA was performed on March 18, 1965, by Soviet cosmonaut Alexei Leonov, who spent 12 minutes outside the Voskhod 2 spacecraft. Carrying a white metal backpack containing 45 minutes worth of breathing and pressurization oxygen, Leonov had no means to control his motion other than pulling on his 15.35 m tether. After the flight, he claimed this was easy, but his space suit ballooned from its internal pressure against the vacuum of space, stiffening so much that he could not activate the shutter on his chest-mounted camera. At the end of his space walk, the suit stiffening caused a more serious problem: Leonov had to re-enter the capsule through the inflatable cloth airlock, 1.2 m in diameter and 2.5 m long.
He improperly got stuck sideways. He could not get back in without reducing the pressure in his suit, risking "the bends"; this added another 12 minutes to his time in vacuum, he was overheated by 1.8 °C from the exertion. It would be four years before the Soviets tried another EVA, they misrepresented to the press how difficult Leonov found it to work in weightlessness and concealed the problems encountered until after the end of the Cold War. The first American spacewalk was performed on June 3, 1965, by Ed White from the second manned Gemini flight, Gemini 4, for 21 minutes. White was tethered to the spacecraft, his oxygen was supplied through a 25-foot umbilical, which carried communications and biomedical instrumentation, he was the first to control his motion in space with a Hand-Held Maneuvering Unit, which worked well but only carried enough propellant for 20 seconds. White found his tether useful for limiting his distance from the spacecraft but difficult to use for moving around, contrary to Leonov's claim.
However, a defect in the capsule's hatch latching mechanism caused difficulties opening and closing the hatch, which delayed the start of the EVA and put White and his crewmate at risk of not getting back to Earth alive. No EVAs were planned on the next three Gemini flights; the next EVA was planned to be made by David Scott on Gemini 8, but that mission had to be aborted due to a critical spacecraft malfunction before the EVA could be conducted. Astronauts on the next three Gemini flights, performed several EVAs, but none was able to work for long periods outside the spacecraft without tiring and overheating. Cernan attempted but failed to test an Air Force Astronaut Maneuvering Unit which included a self-contained oxygen system. On November 13, 1966, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first to work in space without tiring, on the Gemini 12 last flight. Aldrin worked outside the spacecraft for 2 hours and 6 minutes, in additio
Zhai Zhigang is a major general in the People's Liberation Army Air Force and a CNSA astronaut. During the Shenzhou 7 mission in 2008, he became the first Chinese citizen to carry out a spacewalk. Zhai was born in Longjiang County, Heilongjiang province, he enrolled at the PLA Air Force Aviation University and studied to be a fighter pilot and as a squadron leader. Zhai became a lieutenant colonel and pilot trainer in the PLAAF after logging 1000 hours of flying time. In 1996, Zhai was selected to trial for the astronaut program and was selected to be the first group of fourteen in 1998, he was one of three members of the final group to train for the Shenzhou 5 flight. Yang Liwei was picked with Zhai Zhigang ranked second ahead of Nie Haisheng. Zhai was one of the six astronauts in the final training for Shenzhou 6; the Ta Kung Pao newspaper had reported that Zhai Zhigang and Nie Haisheng were the leading pair, after having been in the final group of three for Shenzhou 5. However, Zhai had been paired with Wu Jie during training.
Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng flew the flight. Zhai, along with Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng was selected for prime crew on Shenzhou 7, with Zhai as commander, on 17 September 2008. On 25 September 2008, at 21:10 CST, they launched into space as the first three-man crew for China, China's third human spaceflight mission. On 27 September 2008, Zhai became the first Chinese astronaut to spacewalk outside the craft. Fellow crew member Liu Boming could be seen straddling the portal. Zhai completed his spacewalk at 18:25 CST. Zhai wore the Chinese developed Feitian space suit, while Liu wore the Russian derived Orlan-M space suit. Zhai's favourite pastimes are calligraphy and gadgets, he has one son. List of Chinese astronauts "We want to fly higher for China: stories of Zhai Zhigang". PLA Daily. 2003-10-22. Archived from the original on 2006-03-02. Zhai Zhigang at the Encyclopedia Astronautica. Accessed 22 July 2005. Spacefacts biography of Zhai Zhigang