Science

Astronaut Wang Yaping becomes first Chinese woman to walk in space

Astronaut Wang Yaping became the first woman to walk in space after she took part in Shenzhou-13 mission's first extravehicular activity with mission commander Zhai Zhigang.

 

Astronaut Wang Yaping, a crewmember of China’s Shenzhou-13 mission, became the first woman from the country to walk in space on Sunday evening.

The astronauts of China’s Shenzhou-13 mission to the Tiangong space station module Tianhe took their first spacewalk on Sunday. Wang Yaping, 41, took part in the mission’s first extravehicular activity with mission commander Zhai Zhigang.

A statement issued by China Manned Space Program said, “The Shenzhou-13 astronaut crew will conduct their first outing activities on November 7, 2021, Beijing time. Astronauts Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping will carry out extravehicular operations in the “Flying” extravehicular suit, and astronaut Ye Guangfu will cooperate and support in the cabin. Currently, the outbound activity is underway and is expected to last 6 hours.”

According to a report in China Daily, Zhai opened the hatch at 6.51 pm (Beijing Time) and by 8.28 pm, Zhai and Wang had exited the Tiangong space station. By midnight, they had mounted new components on the space station’s robotic arm and used it to practice extravehicular manoeuvres and rescue operations.

Shenzhou-13, meaning “Divine Vessel” in Chinese, is Zhai and Wang’s second space mission and Ye’s first.

According to China Daily, Wang is the second Chinese woman to have flown in space. She joined the People’s Liberation Army, Air Force, in August 1997. She served as a deputy squadron commander before joining the second group of astronauts at the PLA Astronaut Division in May 2010.

In March 2012, Wang was among the backup crew for the Shenzhou-9 mission. In June 2013, she took part in the Shenzhou-10 mission, which lasted nearly 15 days, according to China Daily.

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