China’s Shenzhou-16 astronauts conduct 1st spacewalk

China’s Shenzhou-16 astronauts conduct 1st spacewalk

Spacecraft crew Jing Haipeng, Zhu Yangzhu, and Gui Haichao conduct 8-hour-long spacewalk

By Riyaz ul Khaliq

ISTANBUL (AA) - The crew of China’s spacecraft launched in May have successfully conducted their first spacewalk, the country’s space agency said.

Jing Haipeng and Zhu Yangzhu, astronauts of the Shenzhou-16 spacecraft, conducted an eight-hour-long spacewalk on Thursday, China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said.

It was the first time for Jing to perform a spacewalk, while Zhu is China’s first flight engineer to take part in extravehicular activities.

They “worked closely together, and with the support of the space station's robotic arm, they successfully completed all the scheduled tasks for the out-of-vehicle activities,” the CMSA said in a statement.

Their colleague, Gui Haichao, was assisting the crew from inside China’s Tiangong space station.

The crew installed and adjusted camera devices outside the Chinese space station.

Shenzhou-16 is a three-member Chinese space mission.

It was the 13th spacewalk carried out by Chinese astronauts so far.

The astronauts, locally known as taikonauts, were launched into space in May aboard the Chinese spacecraft that docked with the country’s Tiangong space station.

It was the fifth manned mission launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, located in the Gobi Desert in China’s Inner Mongolia region.

Jing, a senior spacecraft pilot and commander of the module, is the first taikonaut to go into space for the fourth time.

He took part in the Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008 and led two other Shenzhou crews in 2012 and 2016.

Zhu has been assigned the role of a spaceflight engineer for the Shenzhou-16 mission. His responsibilities will include collaborating with Commander Jing to oversee the operation and maintenance of the spacecraft, as well as doing various technical tests.

Gui is the first civilian taikonaut and a professor at Beihang University in Beijing and serves as a payload expert during his mission in the Tiangong space station.

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