Capitol Momentum - Jan 2023

Female taikonaut becomes the first to complete spacewalk

Image: Chinese taikonauts Wang Yaping (right) and Zhai Zhigang during their spacewalk. (Credit: Guo Zhongzheng/Xinhua)

Budapest / Beijing, 9 November 2021. – Taikonauts Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping have successfully completed their extravehicular activities (EVA) and returned to the Tiangong space station’s core module Tianhe, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) reported.

Shenzhou-13 launched on 16th October with three taikonauts on board for a six-month mission to construct the space station. The pair of spacwalkers spent 6.5 hours outside the station during which time they completed a series of extravehicular tasks. 

These included testing the functions of the new-generation extravehicular spacesuits developed in China and the coordination between taikonauts and the mechanical arm. Furthermore, they evaluated the reliability and safety of supporting equipment related to the EVAs, CMSA noted.

The event was the first extravehicular mission conducted by the Shanzhou-13 crew and the third to advance the construction of the space station. It is also an important milestone in Chinese space history as for the first time, a female taikonaut was also involved. The EVA was Zhai’s second, having been the first Chinese to conduct a spacewalk 13 years ago during the Shenzhou-7 mission.

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