Two Chinese astronauts orbiting the Tiangong space station, thirteen years later, have conducted the country’s second spacewalk, CMSA, the Chinese agency dedicated to manned space missions, reported today.
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Astronaut Liu Boming left the Tianhe unit on Sunday morning while Tang Hongbo joined soon after to test the latest spacesuits – which allow them to spend up to eight hours outside the unit – install equipment that will be used on future missions and carry out other technical tasks.
China launched the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft on June 17 with three astronauts on board to participate in the tuning of its Tiangong space station, which the Asian country plans to have ready by 2022.
Astronauts Ni Haisheng, Liu Beoming and Tang Hongbo will remain in orbit for three months as they dock in the Tianhe module, which in turn is linked to the Tianzhou-2 cargo ship, which contains supplies, suits, equipment and fuel, among other items.
The Tiangong station will orbit the Earth at an altitude of between 340 and 450 kilometers and is designed to last about 10 years, although some experts are confident it can last more than 15 years with proper maintenance.
In 2024, Tiangong will likely become the world’s only space station if the International Space Station, a US-led initiative, is withdrawn that year as planned.
In recent years, the Chinese space program managed to land the Chang’e 4 probe on the far side of the moon – the first time this has been achieved – and in mid-May, it reached Mars for the first time, becoming a third country – after the United States and the Soviet Union Previous – to enter.
With information from EFE
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