SMA NEWS – BEIJING
Chinese astronauts successfully performed the country’s first tandem spacewalk on Sunday, working for seven hours on the outside of the new Tiangong station in orbit around Earth.
Tiangong’s construction is a major step in China’s ambitious space programme, which has seen the nation land a rover on Mars and send probes to the Moon.
Three astronauts blasted off last month to become the station’s first crew, where they are to remain for three months in China’s longest crewed mission to date.
On Sunday morning, two of them exited the station for around seven hours of work in the first spacewalk at Tiangong, the China Manned Space Agency said.
“The safe return of astronauts Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo to the Tianhe core module marks the complete success of the first spacewalk in our country’s space station construction,” the space agency said.
Their tasks involved elevating a panoramic camera outside the Tianhe core module, as well as testing the station’s robotic arm which will be used to transfer future modules around the station, state media said.