Crew of Shenzhou-12
Credit: GlobaLink/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Two Chinese astronauts stationed in the Tianhe core module of China’s space station Tiangong carried out their first spacewalks on Sunday.

Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo performed the spacewalks with Nie Haisheng, commander of the mission, staying inside the module and assisted in manipulating the station’s robotic arm that helps the other two astronauts with their extravehicular chores.

Credit: GlobaLink/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Feitian spacesuit

The spacewalking twosome used new-generation homemade extravehicular mobility unit spacesuits called “Feitian,” meaning flying to space.

Their tasks included installing foot restraints and an extravehicular working platform on the mechanical arm. They also lifted a panoramic camera.

Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

According to China Central Television (CCTV), the extravehicular panoramic camera was initially installed at a lower position on the robotic arm, with a limited vision. A wider perspective of the camera is required for the astronauts to monitor the situation outside the space station, so the astronauts need to install a bracket to lift the camera higher.

More difficult tasks ahead

The spacewalk mission lasted about seven hours outside the cabin.

Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

“There will be another extravehicular task which will be more difficult,” said Liu Xiangyan, deputy chief designer of the space station system. “But I believe that, through the practice and experience of this task, the astronauts will better complete the next task,” said Liu.

The three astronauts were sent into space aboard the Shenzhou-12 spaceship on June 17. They will inhabit the core module until mid-September before returning to Earth.

Go to these newly issued videos detailing the spacewalk and the robotic arm at:

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