First spacewalk at China’s new space station

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For the first time, Chinese astronauts have disembarked from their “Tiangong” space station, which is under construction. On Sunday, Chinese state television showed astronauts Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo leaving the station in their spacesuits. During their several hours of use, they carried out work on the outside of the station and made some tests, Chinese state media reported.

Later both of them returned safely to the interior of the station. For China it was only the second spacewalk ever after a Chinese astronaut disembarked from the spaceship “Shenzhou 7” for the first time in September 2008. The mission at that time, however, only lasted around 20 minutes.

For outdoor use at the space station, Chinese engineers had developed a new space suit weighing around 100 kilograms, which should be more comfortable to wear and enable longer deployment times in space. A 15 meter long robotic arm attached to the station was intended to support the astronauts in their work.

Three astronauts, led by Commander Nie Haisheng, reached China’s under construction space station two weeks ago. It is the first manned Chinese space mission in five years. During their stay in space, which is scheduled for three months, the astronauts will carry out work at the station, test important functions and also carry out scientific experiments.

The core module “Tianhe”, which is already in space, is the first part of the future space station, to which two more modules are to be connected. The “Tiangong” space station (Sky Palace) is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.

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