China’s first woman astronaut ventures out for a spacewalk thumbnail

China’s first woman astronaut ventures out for a spacewalk

Wang Yaping has become China’s first female astronaut to conduct a spacewalk on Sunday.

Wang,
41, and her mission commander Zhai Zhigang – both members of the
Shenzhou-13 crew – are conducting their first extravehicular activities
or EVAs since they entered the space station core moduleTianhe in
mid-October, CGTN quoted officials of the China Manned Space Engineering
Office as saying.

The
operations started at 6:51 pm Beijing Time (or 3:51pm Pakistan time) on
Sunday, when Zhai opened the hatch of Tianhe’s node cabin.

By
1:16 am Monday (Beijing time or 10:16pm Sunday PST), Zhai Zhigang and
Wang Yaping had safely returned to China’s Tianhe space station. Their
spacewalk lasted for about 6.5 hours and both astronauts completed all
planned tasks.

According to the CMSA, the Shenzhou-13 crew will carry out another one or two spacewalks. 

Both
astronauts are using China’s self-developed ‘Feitian’ extravehicular
spacesuits, while their crewmate Ye Guangfu remained inside the space
station to aid their operations.

They
first installed a foot restraint and a workbench on the robotic arm.
Then with the support of the robotic arm, they will work to install a
suspension system and an adapter, which will be used for future space
station assembling works.

They will also carry out tests of classic extravehicular moves and verification of mutual rescue efforts during EVAs.

Wang Yaping is China’s second female astronaut to go to space, and the country’s first female to live on its space station. 

In
June 2013, Wang and her two other crewmates, Nie Haisheng and Zhang
Xiaoguang, were sent to space aboard Shenzhou-10. She gave a lecture
about space during the mission via live broadcast, a first for China,
inspiring millions of school children.

Zhai,
55, is the first Chinese to have conducted a spacewalk. He performed a
landmark 20-minute EVA during the Shenzhou-7 mission back in 2008, which
made China the third nation in the world to independently conduct a
spacewalk, following the former Soviet Union and the United States.

The
Shenzhou-13 mission, launched on October 16, is the second of the four
manned missions for the construction of China’s space station.

The three crew members are scheduled to stay in space for six months, the longest ever in-orbit duration for Chinese astronauts.

They are expected to conduct one to two more spacewalks during their stay.

Their colleagues in the Shenzhou-12 mission, which lasted from mid-June to mid-September, performed two spacewalks.

According
to China Daily, Six among 14 of China’s first team of astronauts, never
ventured into space. Many of them have now retired.

They are: Deng Qingming, Pan Zhanchun, Zhao Chuandong, Wu Jie, Chen Quan and Li Qinglong.

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