China's Shenzhou-14 astronauts successfully complete six-hour spacewalk
The Shenzhou-14 spacecraft launched on June 5 this year carried three astronauts to complete the construction of Tiangong during a six-month mission.
Two astronauts on board China's Tiangong space station successfully completed a six-hour spacewalk Friday, the national human spaceflight agency said. Astronauts Chen Dong and Liu Yang returned safely to the Wentian lab module of the space station early Friday, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) said, while declaring the first spacewalk of the six-month Shenzhou-14 mission a "complete success".
The duo carried out the tasks with the help of a small robotic arm, the CMSA said. This was their first time exiting the new Wentian lab module.
China has been paying a lot of attention to its space programme. It has already landed a rover on Mars and sent probes to the Moon.
State media images showed the pair opening the hatch of the module and using a robotic arm to manoeuvre equipment with the rotating earth in the background.
"Hello, everyone. I'm out of the module. I'm feeling good," Chen, a former military pilot, said in a video.
The pair completed several tasks, including installing external parts to the module and testing its functions. The other astronaut Cai Xuzhe coordinated from inside the cabin, official news agency Xinhua reported.
The Shenzhou-14 spacecraft was launched on June 5 and carried three astronauts to complete the construction of Tiangong during a six-month mission. The space station is expected to become fully operational by the end of the year. Overall, this was the fifth spacewalk to happen outside China's space station.
Chen, Liu and Cai are the second crew to spend six months aboard Tiangong after the last one returned to earth in April following 183 days on the space station.
Tiangong's core module entered orbit early last year and is expected to operate for at least a decade. The completed station will be similar to the Soviet Mir station that orbited Earth from the 1980s until 2001.
(With inputs from agencies)