Chinese space crew accomplishes successful spacewalk and solar panel repairs

  • The Shenzhou-17 crew members aboard China’s Tiangong space station completed their first extravehicular activities on Thursday.
  • Chinese astronauts Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie and Jiang Xinlin collaborated to perform planned tasks.
  • The astronauts completed various tasks during the spacewalk, including a repair test of solar panels.

The Shenzhou-17 crew members on board China’s orbiting Tiangong space station completed their first extravehicular activities, or spacewalk, at 21:35 on Thursday, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

Three Chinese astronauts Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie, and Jiang Xinlin collaborated to pull off all planned tasks with the assistance of the space station’s robotic arm and scientific staff on the ground.

After their spacewalk which lasted about seven and a half hours, Tang Hongbo and Tang Shengjie returned to the Wentian lab module safely.

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During the extravehicular activities, the pair successfully completed a series of tasks, including the repair test of solar panels on the Tianhe core module.

The Shenzhou-17 crew members aboard China’s Tiangong space station completed their first spacewalk with the assistance of the robotic arm and ground staff on Thursday.

It has been Tang Hongbo’s second spacewalk in about two and a half years. He carried out his first extravehicular activities when on the Shenzhou-12 mission back in July 2021. He is also the first Chinese astronaut to return to the Tiangong space station.

Tang Shengjie also became the youngest Chinese astronaut ever to conduct a spacewalk outside the space station.

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The Shenzhou-17 crew, as planned, will carry out a large number of space science experiments and complete multiple extravehicular activities and extravehicular tasks of application loads during their stay in space.

China launched the Shenzhou-17 manned spaceship on Oct 26 for a space station mission lasting about six months. The spaceship had the youngest lineup since the construction of the Tiangong space station started.

Having stationed in the orbital outpost for about eight weeks, the three astronauts have completed tasks including the crew rotation with Shenzhou-16 astronauts, space station platform maintenance, life and health support, extravehicular spacesuit inspection and testing, and Tianzhou-6 cargo ship equipment inspection.

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