Chinese astronauts go on spacewalk from new station
China is building its own space station after being barred from the International Space Station by the United States.
Chinese astronauts Cai Xuzhe, top and Chen Dong conduct extravehicular activities, also known as spacewalks, around the Wentian Station laboratory module. (Photo: AP)
- The latest spacewalk was the second of a six-month mission
- The first of two labs, a 23-ton module, was added to the station in July
- China became the third country to send a person into space in 2003
Two Chinese astronauts took a spacewalk on Saturday from a new space station due for completion later this year.
Cai Xuzhe and Chen Dong installed pumps, a handle to open the hatch door from the outside in an emergency, and a stopper to secure an astronaut’s feet to a robotic arm, state media said. .
China is building its own space station after being barred by the United States from the International Space Station because its military runs the country’s space program. US officials see a host of strategic challenges in China’s space ambitions, echoing the US-Soviet rivalry that prompted the race for the moon in the 1960s.
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The latest spacewalk was the second in a six-month mission that will oversee the completion of the space station. The first of the two labs, a 23-ton module, was added to the station in July and the other is due later this year.
The third crew member, Liu Yang, supported the other two from inside during the spacewalk. Liu and Chen performed the first spacewalk about two weeks ago.
They will be joined by three other astronauts near the end of their mission in what will be the first time the station has had six people on board.
China became the third country to send a person into space in 2003, after the former Soviet Union and the United States. He sent rovers to the Moon and Mars and brought lunar samples back to Earth.
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