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Shenzhou 16 Completes First Spacewalk Aboard Tiangong Station

China Shenzhou 16 crew has successfully conducted their first spacewalk aboard China's Tiangong space station. 

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Kieran Potter

Kieran Potter

Sat Jul 22 2023Written by Kieran Potter

China Shenzhou 16 crew has successfully conducted their first spacewalk aboard China's Tiangong space station. 

The spacewalk took place on July 20th, 2023, and was performed by Chinese Taikonauts (chinese astronauts) Jing Haipeng and Jing Haipeng. Clad in their state-of-the-art space suits, the astronauts ventured outside the spacecraft, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of approximately 400 kilometers (about 248 miles). 

The EVA lasted approximately eight hours and concluded at 9:40 a.m. EDT and 9:40 p.m. Beijing time, with Jing Haipeng and Zhu Yangzhu wrapping up their extravehicular activity (EVA) outside the Tiangong space station at 1340 GMT according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO). 

During the spacewalk Jing Haipeng and Zhu Yangzhu performed a series of planned tasks including the installation and lifting of the support frame for a panoramic camera outside Tiangong's Tianhe core module and unlocking and lifting two panoramic cameras outside the Mengtian experiment module. The spacewalk was meticulously monitored and supported by the ground control team at the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center and by Gui Haichao, the third Shenzhou 16 crew mate, who assisted operations from inside Tiangong using the space station's robotic arm.

Mission Commander Jing Haipeng, who is now on his fourth trip to space, a national-record, experienced his inaugural spacewalk during this mission. On the other hand, Zhu became the first of China's flight engineer astronauts to undertake an extravehicular activity (EVA).

Shenzhou 16 was launched on May 30, marking the fifth spaceflight mission dedicated to visiting Tiangong during its construction and operational phases.

As the world watches and celebrates China's space achievements, the country's space agency has announced plans for even more ambitious missions in the future. These include continued crewed missions to the Tiangong space station, crew lunar missions, and the establishment of a International Lunar Research Station.