Science

Chinese astronauts perform 4-hour spacewalk near new laboratory at Tiangong space station

Two Chinese astronauts undertook a four-hour spacewalk near the growing Tiangong Station this weekend to work on its latest laboratory module, state media reported.

Astronauts Chen Dong and Cai Xiuzhe of the China National Space Administration began their spacewalk on Saturday (September 17) at 1:35 am EDT (0535 GMT or 13:35 Beijing time) outside the space station Tiangong and spent 4 hours and 12 minutes. is working on its new Wentian laboratory module, state news channel CCTV reports. (will open in a new tab).

“Using a small mechanical arm, astronauts Tsai and Chen performed a number of EVA tasks, including the installation of EVA assist arms and an extended load circuit pump assembly. They also checked the possibility of rescue outside the ship, ”writes CCTV. excursion. Chen is the mission commander of Shenzhou Station 14.

Video: Chinese astronauts begin testing new space station module

Chinese taikonauts performed a spacewalk near the Tiangong space station on September 17, 2022. (Image credit: CCTV)

From inside the Tiangong space station, the duo were assisted by crew member Liu Yang, who participated in an earlier spacewalk on September 1, the first exit from the Wentian module, along with Chen two weeks ago. Yang also became China’s first female astronaut in 2012 during the Shenzhou 9 mission to the Tiangong 1 space laboratory.

The Shenzhou 14 crew sets up the newly arrived Wentian for the space station. China launched the Wentian module on July 24th. A few hours later, it docked with the main Tianhe module of the Tiangong station, doubling the number of station modules to two.

Chinese officials said the addition of Wentian would allow Tiangong to host up to six people at a time. The crew of Shenzhou 14 is expected to conduct the first-ever transmission of Shenzhou 15 in December.

The Shenzhou 14 crew launched on June 3 on a mission to build a space station that Chinese officials say weighs about 20% of the much larger International Space Station (ISS). China does not participate in the activities of the ISS due to US restrictions imposed by national policies.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace (will open in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (will open in a new tab) and on facebook (will open in a new tab).

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