Two Chinese astronauts have completed a successful spacewalk to build China’s first space station, the country space agency said.
This is also the first time that Chinese astronauts, locally called Taikonauts, welcome a new year in space.
Zhai Zhigang, 55, and Ye Guangfu, 41, completed their extravehicular activities (EVAs) and returned to the space station core module Tianhe, the China Crewed Space Agency said in a statement to state-run Xinhua News on Monday.
“This was the fourth time that the taikonauts conducted EVAs during the construction of the country's space station and the second by the Shenzhou-13 crew,” the agency said, declaring the spacewalk was a “complete success.”
The crew conducted their first EVAs on Nov. 7.
The Shenzhou-13 spacecraft has three crew members and docked with the Tiangong space station core module on Oct. 16, marking the start of a six-month stay in orbit to construct a Chinese space station.
Shenzhou-13 was lifted-off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi Desert in northern China.
Wang Yaping, 41, is the first Chinese female astronaut to board the space station along with Zhai and Ye who are part of the three-member crew.
“The pair returned to the core module after about six hours of EVAs. They completed tasks such as lifting panoramic cameras and testing goods transport,” the agency added.
“Astronauts also tested the function and performance of the core module airlock cabin, extravehicular suit, and mechanical arm, and assessed the technologies related to EVAs, the coordination of taikonauts inside and outside the space station, and the coordination between space and earth,” it said.
Meanwhile, China on Sunday launched a new satellite with a camera that can take pictures of the ground with a resolution of five meters, the China National Space Administration (CNSA) said in a statement.