Wang Yaping became the first female Chinese astronaut to make a spacewalk on Monday. She and mission command Zhai Zhigang spent 6.5 hours outside the Tianhe core module of the Tiangong space station, the Xinhua news agency reported.
The astronauts tested the Chinese-developed next-generation spacesuits, worked with the station’s robotic arm, and evaluated the reliability and safety of the support equipment.
Zhai made his first spacewalk in 13 years. On 27 September 2008, he became he first Chinese astronaut to walk in space during the three-day Shenzhou-7 mission.
It was the first spacewalk by the three-member Shenzhou-13 crew, which arrived at the space station for a six-month stay on Oct. 15. The crew, which includes Ye Guangfu, will return to Earth in April.
The Shenzhou-12 crew conducted two spacewalks during a 92-day long mission that ended on Sept. 17.
China launched the second three-member crew for a three-month stay aboard the Tiangong space station early Saturday morning local time.
The Shenzhou-13 spacecraft carrying commander Zhai Zhigang and crewmates Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center aboard a Long March 2F booster at 12:23 a.m. (12:23 a.m. EDT Friday). The crew is scheduled to dock with the space station about 6.5 hours after launch.
Three Chinese astronauts launched into orbit on Thursday morning local time for a three-month mission to the nation’s first permanent space station. It will be the longest human space mission in Chinese history, and the country’s first crewed fight in nearly five years.
The mission is commanded by Nie Haisheng, 56, who has logged more than 19 days in space on two previous flights. Nie, who is a major general in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force, was joined by Liu Boming, 54, who will be flying to space for the second time, and rookie astronaut Tang Hongbo, 45.
Three astronauts will launch on Thursday morning local time aboard the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft for a three-month long mission to China’s first permanent space station. It will be the longest human space mission in Chinese history, and the country’s first crewed fight in nearly five years.
Launch of the crew aboard a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is scheduled for June 17 at 0122 UTC (June 16 at 9:22 p.m. EDT).