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Chinese astronauts take 4-hour spacewalk outside new lab at Tiangong space station

Two Chinese astronauts took four-hour spacewalk beyond your country’s growing Tiangong station this weekend to focus on its newest laboratory module, in accordance with state media reports.

Astronauts Chen Dong and Cai Xuzhe of the China National Space Administration began their spacewalk Saturday (Sept. 17) at 1: 35 a.m. EDT (0535 GMT or 1: 35 p.m. Beijing time) beyond your Tiangong space station and spent 4 hours and 12 minutes focusing on its new Wentian laboratory module, based on the state-run CCTV news channel (opens in new tab).

“Using the tiny mechanical arm, astronauts Cai and Chen conducted a number of extravehicular tasks, like the installing extravehicular assistance handles and the extended pump group of the strain circuits. In addition they verified the extravehicular rescue capability,” CCTV wrote of the excursion. Chen may be the commander of the station’s Shenzhou 14 mission.

Video: Chinese astronauts start testing new space station module

chinese taikonaut upside down during a spacewalk with the earth below

Chinese taikonauts conducted a spacewalk beyond your Tiangong space station on Sept. 17, 2022. (Image credit: CCTV)

The duo were assisted in the Tiangong space station by crewmate Liu Yang, who participated within an earlier spacewalk on Sept. 1, the first out from the Wentian module, with Chen fourteen days ago. Yang also became China’s first female astronaut in 2012 through the Shenzhou 9 mission to the Tiangong 1 space laboratory.

The Shenzhou 14 crew has been configuring the newly arrived Wentian on the area station. China launched the Wentianmodule on July 24. It docked with the Tianhe core module of the Tiangong station a couple of hours later, doubling the station’s amount of modules to two.

Chinese officials have said Wentian’s addition allows Tiangong to host as much as six people at the same time. Shenzhou 14’s crew is likely to do the first-ever handover with Shenzhou 15 in December.

The Shenzhou 14 crew launched on June 3 with a mission to conduct construction on the area station, that is estimated at roughly 20% the mass of the much bigger International Space Station (ISS), in accordance with Chinese officials. China will not take part in ISS activities because of U.S. restrictions set by national policy-makers.

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Elizabeth Howell, Ph.D., is really a staff writer in the spaceflight channel since 2022. She was contributing writer for (opens in new tab) for 10 years before that, since 2012. As a proud Trekkie and Canadian, she also tackles topics like diversity, science fiction, astronomy and gaming to greatly help others explore the universe. Elizabeth’s on-site reporting includes two human spaceflight launches from Kazakhstan, three space shuttle missions in Florida, and embedded reporting from the simulated Mars mission in Utah. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota, and a Bachelor of Journalism from Canada’s Carleton University. Elizabeth can be a post-secondary instructor in communications and science since 2015. Her latest book, Leadership Moments from NASA, is co-written with astronaut Dave Williams. Elizabeth first got thinking about space after watching the movie Apollo 13 in 1996, but still really wants to be an astronaut someday.

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