First Spacewalk by a Female Chinese Astronaut

Wang Yaping (Credit: China News Service, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=110984412)

Wang Yaping became the first female Chinese astronaut to make a spacewalk on Monday. She and mission command Zhai Zhigang spent 6.5 hours outside the Tianhe core module of the Tiangong space station, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The astronauts tested the Chinese-developed next-generation spacesuits, worked with the station’s robotic arm, and evaluated the reliability and safety of the support equipment.

Zhai made his first spacewalk in 13 years. On 27 September 2008, he became he first Chinese astronaut to walk in space during the three-day Shenzhou-7 mission.

It was the first spacewalk by the three-member Shenzhou-13 crew, which arrived at the space station for a six-month stay on Oct. 15. The crew, which includes Ye Guangfu, will return to Earth in April.

The Shenzhou-12 crew conducted two spacewalks during a 92-day long mission that ended on Sept. 17.