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Chinese astronauts complete space walk outside future space station

By Reuters

BEIJING – Two Chinese astronauts completed a space walk on Monday outside the core module of a future space station, with 41-year-old Wang Yaping becoming the first Chinese woman to perform the manoeuvre, state media reported.

Zhai Zhigang, 55, mission commander of Shenzhou-13, opened the hatch of the core cabin Tianhe at 18:51 p.m. (1051 GMT) on Sunday, and was joined by Wang for a space walk that lasted 6-1/2 hours.

The duo returned to the module at 1:16 a.m. (1716 GMT Sunday) on Monday, CCTV said. A third astronaut, Ye Guangfu, assisted the pair from inside the core module.

Crewed space exploration would be incomplete without the participation of women, Yang Yuguang, vice chair of the Space Transportation Committee for the International Astronautical Federation, told state-controlled Global Times.

Shenzhou-13 is the second of four crewed missions needed to complete China’s space station by the end of 2022.

During the first such mission that ended in September, three other astronauts stayed on Tianhe for 90 days.

The current mission, launched on Oct. 16, will last for six months.