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Shenzhou-18 Crew Members Complete First Spacewalk

By Xinhua|May 29,2024

This screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center on May 28, 2024 shows Shenzhou-18 astronaut Ye Guangfu performing extravehicular activities. (Photo/Li Jie, Xinhua)

Beijing - Shenzhou-18 crew members on board China's orbiting space station completed the first spacewalk of their mission at 6:58 p.m. (Beijing Time) on Tuesday, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

Ye Guangfu, Li Cong and Li Guangsu worked for about eight-and-a-half hours in completing multiple tasks, including the installation of space debris protection devices, and were assisted by the space station's robotic arm and a team on Earth.

The task has set a new record for the longest single spacewalk by Chinese astronauts.

Ye and Li Guangsu, the two crew members assigned the spacewalk duty, have since returned safely to the Wentian lab module.

This marked Ye's second extravehicular activity (EVA), following his initial spacewalk during the Shenzhou-13 mission, while Li Guangsu embarked on a spacewalk for the first time.

The mission will involve numerous other tasks, with the Shenzhou-18 crew set to engage in a slew of scheduled space science experiments and technical tests, while they will also undertake additional extravehicular activities and install payloads outside the space station, according to the CMSA.

So far, Chinese astronauts have successfully carried out a total of 16 EVAs. On Sept. 27, 2008, astronaut Zhai Zhigang in Shenzhou-7 mission made history as China's first person to conduct a spacewalk, which lasted approximately 19 minutes.

The Shenzhou-15 crew has achieved a milestone by performing four spacewalks, marking the highest number of EVAs by a single Chinese astronaut crew.

The Shenzhou-17 crew completed, for the first time, the in-orbit maintenance of extravehicular facilities during their second spacewalk, which lasted approximately eight hours.


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