Science & Technology

Astronauts conduct first spacewalk at China’s new space station

Beijing, Jul 4 (EFE).- Chinese astronauts have carried out their first spacewalk outside the Tiangong space station, the China Manned Space Agency reported Sunday.

It is the second time a Chinese mission has carried out a spacewalk, following Shenzhou-7 in 2008.

Astronaut Liu Boming left the Tianhe core module at 8.11 am (Beijing time) while Tang Hongbo joined by 11.02 am wearing new-generation spacesuits in the first of two spacewalks planned for the mission, the CMSA said.

The pair, assisted in movement through space by a robotic arm, installed equipment that will be used in future missions and carried out other technical tasks, such as the lifting of the space station’s extravehicular panoramic camera and installing workbenches.

From inside, Nie Haisheng supported the pair in carrying out the operations.

China launched the Shenzhou-12 spaceship on June 17 with the three astronauts on board to participate in the fine-tuning of the space station, which the Asian country plans to have ready by 2022.

The astronauts will remain in orbit for three months.

The Tiangong station will orbit the Earth at an altitude of between 340 and 450 kilometers, and is designed to last about 10 years, although some experts are confident that with proper maintenance it can last more than 15.

In 2024, Tiangong is likely to become the world’s only space station if the International Space Station, a United States-led initiative, is withdrawn that year as planned.

In recent years, the Chinese space program has managed to land the Chang’e-4 probe on the far side of the Moon – the first time it has been achieved – and, in mid-May, reached Mars for the first time, becoming the third country to dock there after the US and the former Soviet Union. EFE


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