China conducted its first spacewalk in 13 years. The astronauts currently living in the Chinese space station (Tiangong) went abroad to install equipment for their long-term use.

The rally began on July 4 at 8:11 AM CST. The first airlock in the Tianhe Unit was Liu Buming. Meanwhile, another stroller, Tang Hongbo, helped Liu into the service cubicle. He didn’t join him outside until much later, at 11:02 AM.

The entire mission commander, Shenzhou 12, remained inside Tianhe, where he monitored the activities of his colleagues and helped the business by operating a small robotic arm.

The astronauts were wearing new-generation Feitian suits, designed for the Chinese space station program. The two main tasks were to install foot stands and platforms for the astronauts to attach to the tip of the robotic arm while working outdoors in the future. Finally, they also prepared an external panoramic camera.

This is China’s first spacewalk in 13 years and the second in China’s history. The first exit into space was made in 2008 by Zhai Zhigang during the Shenzhou 7 mission. However, this exit was only outside the spacecraft and lasted 22 minutes. The march made today was incomparably more difficult from a technical point of view – it involved installation tasks on a large Tianhe unit and took several hours.

The march ended at 2:57 pm and lasted 6 hours and 46 minutes. This was the first spaceflight for both astronauts. Shenzhou’s mission plans include 12 more exits into space.

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The first Chinese manned mission is currently underway aboard the Chinese space station (Tiangong). The astronauts traveled to the currently only unit at Tianhe Station on June 17, 2021. The goal of the first mission is to revitalize the unit and prepare it for further expansion of the station and conduct the first science experiments. Shenzhou 12 will be China’s longest manned space mission to date. The astronauts are expected to return to Earth in September. Currently, in addition to the Shenzhou ship, the Tianzhou 2 cargo ship is docked in the Tianhe unit.

Another manned Shenzhou 13 mission will be carried out in 2021 and another mission next year. In 2022, it is planned to send two more units of the stations, which are their research parts: Wentian and Mengtian.

Based on: ChinaDaily / SpaceNews

Edited by: Rafał Grabiański

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Pictured: Astronauts Liu and Tang conduct their first spaceflight outside the Chinese Space Station. Source: Xinhua / Jin Liuang.