Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping become the country's first female astronaut to complete a spacewalk. Xinhua reports that Wang Yaping walked in outer space outside the Tiangong space station, which China is currently constructing.
On November 8, astronaut Zhai Zhigang opened the exit hatch of the Tianhe core module of the Chinese Tiangong space station and left the module. Wang Yaping followed Zhai Zhigang right away and successfully entered outer space.
The third member of their Shenzhou-13 crew, Ye Guangfu, stayed aboard the space station to assist his colleagues during their work.
For Zhai Zhigang, the first Chinese astronaut to walk in space, this spacewalk was the second, following the previous one he conducted 13 years ago. At the same time, Wang Yaping became China's first female astronaut to walk in outer space.
According to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), the two astronauts installed and configured a suspension device as well as transfer connectors to the robotic arm of the Tianhe module during the 6.5-hour spacewalk outside the space station. They also tested the supporting equipment's safety.
Tianhe is the core module of the Tiangong space station, which is now under construction. The module was launched into space in April 2021.
China plans to complete its orbital space station in 2022 and carry out six more rocket launches for this purpose. The space station will be five times smaller than the ISS and will be able to accommodate up to three crew members.
The Shenzhou-13 spaceship was launched on October 16, and its crew is slated to spend six months in space.
Another crew has recently been sent to space by China as well – Shenzhou-12. The crew includes three taikonauts: Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo.