Feitian Space Suit
Feitian Space Suit
Feitian Space Gloves
Feitian Space Gloves

A Feitian space suit (Chinese: 飞天航天服; pinyin: Fēitiān Hángtiān Fù) is a Chinese spacesuit that was developed for the Shenzhou 7. Taikonaut Zhai Zhigang wore it during China's first-ever extra-vehicular activity (EVA) on 27 September 2008.[1] Similarly, taikonaut Liu Boming also wore the Feitian space suit and assisted Zhai in the process.

The Feitian spacesuit was modelled after the Orlan-M spacesuit developed by Russia.[2] The two are similar in shape and volume and are designed for spacewalks of up to seven hours, providing oxygen and allowing for the excretion of bodily waste.[2]

The suit is reported to have cost $US4.4 million, and weighs 120 kg (260 lb). The name Fēi tiān literally and separately means "flying" and "sky" in Mandarin.[3] It is a reference to the flying gods and goddesses feitian, sometimes translated as flying apsara, in Chinese, and most famously depicted in Chinese art in the grottoes of Dunhuang.[4][5] Images of the feitian from Dunhuang appear on the arm badge of the space suit.[6]


  1. ^ Chen, Lou (September 27, 2008). "Taikonaut Zhai's small step historical leap for China". Xinhua. Archived from the original on October 1, 2008. Retrieved October 1, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Xiao, Jie (June 1, 2007). "China's astronaut outfitters design material for spacewalk suits". Xinhua. Archived from the original on January 25, 2008. Retrieved December 2, 2007.
  3. ^ Johnson, Ed (September 29, 2008). "China, Following Astronauts' Return, Plans Space Lab for 2011". Bloomberg.
  4. ^ "三匹"骏马",星夜伴"飞天"起航 (Three steeds embark on starry night with Feitian)" (in Chinese). Xinhua. September 28, 2008. Archived from the original on October 21, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2008.: "“我们想过很多名字,但最终决定把国产航天服命名为‘飞天’。”周建平说,“我们希望,将来我们能够像敦煌壁画上的飞天一样,在太空自由地飞翔。”" ["'We considered many names, but eventually decided to name the domestically made space suit "Feitian",' said Zhou Jinping, 'We hope that, in the future we can be just like the feitian of the Dunhuang murals, and fly freely in space.'"]
  5. ^ 敦煌飞天 (The feitian of Dunhuang) Archived December 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine (in Chinese). Zhaoqt.net: "飞天,是佛教中乾闼婆和紧那罗的化身。" ["The feitian is derived from the apsara and the gandharva of Buddhist mythology."]
  6. ^ "舱外服名字为胡锦涛题写 绣有飞天美女 (Space suit name badge written by Hu Jintao; Embroidered with Feitian female figures)" (in Chinese). Xinhua. September 28, 2008. Retrieved October 1, 2008.: "飞天两个字是绣着的,非常有立体感,是胡锦涛总书记题写的。下面还绣着两个敦煌的飞天美女。" ["The two characters Fei Tian are embroidered, and have a three dimensional feel, and were written by General Secretary Hu Jintao. Below are embroidered two feitian female figures from Dunhuang."]