Beijing: Two astronauts made the first spacewalk on Sunday (July 4) outside China’s new orbital station, developing a 15-meter (50-foot) long robotic arm.
Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo were shown by state TV descending of the airlock as Earth rolled past below them. The third crew member, commander Nie Haisheng, remained inside.
The astronauts landed on June 17 for a three-month mission aboard China’s third orbital station, part of an enthusiastic space program that transpired a robot rover on Mars in May. Their expedition comes as the ruling Communist Party celebrates the 100th anniversary of its establishment.
The station’s first module, Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, was landed on April 29. That was followed by an automated spacecraft with food and fuel. Liu, Nie, and Tang appeared on June 17 aboard a Shenzhou capsule.
On Sunday, Liu and Tang were finishing the initiation of a robotic arm that will be used to congregate the rest of the station, according to state media. State TV stated their spacesuits are patterned to permit them to work in the vacuum of space for up to six hours if necessary.
The space agency designed a total of 11 launches through the end of the coming year to add two more modules to the 70-ton station.
Liu is the oldest of the Shenzhou 7 mission in 2008, during which Zhai Zhigang made China’s prime spacewalk. Nie is on his third trip into space while Liu is making his introduction. All are fighter pilots.