Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping has made her country proud as she became the first woman in the history of the country to complete the spacewalk. China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) disclosed that Wang and partner astronaut Zhai Zhigang, two of the three-member team currently at China’s new Tiangong space station, successfully conducted the 6.5-hour spacewalk in the early hours of Monday morning.
It has been disclosed that the third member of the Shenzhou-13 squad, Ye Guangfu, stayed on the space station to back the spacewalk from the core module. Moreover, Wang is China’s second female in space, after Liu Yang made history by entering the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft in 2012. This is a proud moment for the country as its first female has completed the spacewalk.
Furthermore, China Manned Space Agency (CMS) revealed that Wang and fellow astronaut Zhai Zhigang left the main module of the Tiangong station for more than six hours to set up tools and conduct tests together with the station’s robotic arm as part of its continuing development. Tiangong implies “heavenly palace”, is a vital part of China’s military-led initiative to become an advanced space power, after settling a rover on Mars and sending inquiries to the Moon.
In addition, earlier, 41-years old Wang and 55 years old Zhai have journeyed to China’s now-retired experimental space stations, and Zhai carried out China’s first spacewalk 13 years ago. Both gestured to the camera while tied to the outside of the station. CMS stated that this mission indicates the first extravehicular activity of the Shenzhou-13 squad, and it is also the first in China’s space history including the involvement of a woman astronaut.
Moreover, the Shenzhou-13 squad will conduct one or two more spacewalks during their six-month stay, which is the longest period in space by Chinese astronauts. China confirmed that it is intending to have the station fully crewed and equipped by December 2022. In September, three other Chinese astronauts successfully carried out a three-month stay at the station, during which they worked on the station’s core module and carried out two spacewalks to set up equipment.