Chinese astronauts working on the country’s planned space station carried out their second spacewalk on Friday, according to the Chinese Manned Space Agency.
Since they were sent to space In June, the three-man crew worked and lived on the space station’s Tianhe Core Module, the largest spacecraft developed by China to date. They predict that the space station, called Tiangong or Heavenly Palace, will be fully equipped and operational by December 2022 – an ambitious target for China’s growing space program.
Two of the astronauts, Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming, carried out the spacewalk Friday morning local Beijing time, leaving the base module to perform tasks such as installing equipment outside the space station. and work on the attached robotic arm, the space agency said on the Chinese platform. WeChat. The third astronaut, Tang Hongbo, provided support from inside the cabin.
“The astronauts are in good condition,” state media Xinhua said before the spacewalk, adding that the main module, spacecraft and cargo vessel “are all operating stably.”
The astronauts performed their first spacewalk in early July, during which they tested next-generation spacesuits, installed equipment, raised a panoramic camera and tested the station’s robotic arm.
It was also only China’s second spacewalk at the time, as its first was in 2008.
No further spacewalks planned for the remainder of their three-month orbital flight – China longest crewed mission ever. Their flight is just the first in a long series to come before the station is over. After this mission, three more crewed spaceships and two laboratory modules will be sent to the space station.
Once completed, the space station is expected to operate for 10 years, which could be extended to 15 years. Although not as large as the International Space Station, it is designed to be permanently occupied by astronauts during long stays.
Chinese astronauts have long been excluded from the ISS due to US political objections and legislative restrictions. The country’s space program has grown rapidly over the past decade and accelerated in the past year alone – scientists have successfully landed exploratory rovers on the Moon in December and on Mars in May.
Russia, a long-time contributor to the ISS, has also left the project and now plans to launch its own space station by 2030.
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