On America's Independence Day, the Chinese were busy in low Earth orbit conducting their first spacewalk outside a new space station.
Chinese astronauts have completed extravehicular activities (EVAs) and returned to the space station core module Tianhe, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) has said. #GLOBALink pic.twitter.com/791MjcT2pm— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) July 5, 2021
According to a China Manned Space Engineering Office statement, two astronauts (taikonauts) on Sunday made the first spacewalk outside the country's new space station core module Tianhe or Heavenly Harmony.
Chinese astronauts Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo successfully opened the exit door of the space station core module Tianhe at 8:11 a.m. (Beijing Time) on July 4, 2021. As of 11:02 a.m., donning new-generation homemade EMU (extravehicular mobility unit) spacesuits Feitian, meaning flying to space, astronauts Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo have successfully exiting the module from the Tianhe core module, and also completed the installation of foot limiter and extravehicular workbench on the robotic arm. Follow up, with the support of the robotic arm, they will cooperate with each other to carry out the assembly of relevant equipment outside the space station.
China's space agency plans another 11 launches through the end of 2022 to complete the new 70-ton station. This comes as the International Space Station (ISS) celebrated its 20 years in operation with an end of lifespan by 2030. Already, the space station has shown signs of wear and tear amid a series of malfunctions, including air leaks.
In early April, Russia said it would pull out of the ISS in 2025 and build a space station by 2030 if President Vladimir Putin provides funding. If not, Russia could soon find itself working with the Chinese in space.
President Xi Jinping has touted China's space dream as he was recently cited by state media as saying space is the path to "national rejuvenation."