This is a great first.
Two Chinese astronauts carried out a spacewalk on Sunday morning, the first in tandem for China, to work on China's new space station under construction, Tiangong, the Chinese space agency for manned flights said.
Three Chinese astronauts took off on June 17 from the Gobi Desert (northwest China) and their spacecraft then docked at Tianhe, the only one of the three space station modules already in orbit, for a three-month mission. .
Here is the output of Tang Hongbo which seems to have only taken place at 3:02 UTC pic.twitter.com/GXA6GT2Vgx
- Dreams of Space (@RevesdEspace) July 4, 2021
They are responsible for continuing to build the station, which they notably did this Sunday.
The first astronaut to exit, Liu Boming, was transported to where they are to work by a mechanical arm, while the other, Tang Hongbo, simply exited through the airlock.
Outside, they notably tested the mechanical arm which will be used to transfer the future modules of the station.
This is the first of two spacewalks planned for their stay aboard the resort.
Read alsoChina launches Tianhe, the first "brick" of its own space station
In a video released by the space agency, we can see Liu Boming, leaving the cabin, exclaiming: “It's really too beautiful here!
Previously, Chinese television had shown them donning their Chinese-made spacesuits weighing a whopping 130 kg on Earth.
First release since 2008
This is the first spacewalk for Chinese astronauts since that of Zhai Zhigang in 2008, which made China the third country to launch an astronaut into space after the Soviet Union and the United States. .
To prepare for this mission, veteran Nie Haisheng, 56, who had already made two trips to space and commanded the mission, Liu Boming, 54, who had previously participated in Shenzhou-7 (2008) and Tang Hongbo , 45, whose first time in space, has undergone more than 6,000 hours of training.
The success of the mission, named Shenzhou-12, is a matter of prestige for Beijing.
China plans a total of 11 launches in 2021 and 2022 to complete the construction of the station.
"Complete success" of the launch of the first module of the future Chinese space station
This Sunday, television broadcast images of daily life on Tiangong ("Heavenly Palace" in Chinese), called CSS in English, for "Chinese space station". Astronauts can be seen eating with chopsticks in their zero gravity cockpit. A little later, one of them achieves a hand balance and a somersault.
A week after their arrival in space, they had had a conversation with Chinese President Xi Jinping who, after congratulating them on their contribution to opening "new horizons for humanity in the peaceful use of space." space ”, had asked them how they found life on board. Tang Hongbo, the "new kid" of the mission, replied that he had adapted quickly to life in zero gravity. “Food, daily life, working conditions… Everything is going well. We were also able to make video calls with our families. It is good to live in our little house in space, ”he said.
China's ambition to build a space station has been fueled in part by the refusal of the United States to accept Chinese into the International Space Station (ISS) program, a collaboration between the United States, Russia, Canada, Europe and Japan. The Chinese space station has an expected lifespan of at least ten years and China has said it is open to international collaboration on the station.