- On Sunday, two taikonauts set up a 50-foot camera and robotic arm outside their space station.
- They are part of a three-month mission to help build China’s Tiangong station, launched in April.
- The last time China carried out a spacewalk was in 2008.
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On Sunday, two Chinese astronauts successfully carried out the country’s first spacewalk outside its new Tiangong orbital station.
Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo spent seven hours outside the station and were tasked with installing a panoramic camera and a 50-foot robotic arm, according to the Chinese Manned Space Agency.
The last time Chinese astronauts exited their spacecraft was in 2008, when Zhai Zhigang carried out the country’s first spacewalk.
China Central Television video footage shows Liu and Tang performing checks and donning spacesuits as they prepare to leave the station. A third member of their team, Nie Haisheng, helped them with their equipment and then waited inside.
“Whoa, it’s too good in here,” Liu can be heard exclaiming as he exits the cabin hatch.
Images from cameras installed outside and on astronauts’ helmets show them performing various tasks on the central module of Tiangong Station, which means “Heavenly Palace”.
China sent the trio of astronauts to Tiangong station in June – their first manned space trip in five years. The mission coincides with the centenary of the ruling Communist Party, which celebrated for days with parades, mass dance performances and a show of military force.
The Tiangong station, launched at the end of April, is a major step in China’s ambitious space program.
The country has already landed probes on the Moon and a rover on Mars. He is also designing a “sky ladder” system that jumps cargo and humans between space stations with the goal of sending a man to Mars by 2033.
Since 2011, Chinese astronauts have been banned by the United States from the International Space Station for security reasons.
Liu, Tang and Nie are expected to stay in Tiangong for three months as part of China’s efforts to continue expanding its modular space station.