On Sunday evening, Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping, a member of the Shenzhou-13 mission, became the country’s first woman to walk in space.
On Sunday, astronauts from China’s Shenzhou-13 space mission to the Tiangong space station module Tianhe performed their first spacewalk. With mission commander Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping, 41, took part in the mission’s first extravehicular activity.
According to a statement released by the China Manned Space Program, “On November 7, 2021, Beijing time, the Shenzhou-13 astronaut crew will perform their first excursion operations. In the “Flying” extravehicular suit, astronauts Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping will conduct extravehicular operations, while astronaut Ye Guangfu will assist and cooperate in the cabin. The outbound action is already in progress and is scheduled to continue 6 hours.”
According to a report in China Daily, Zhai opened the hatch at 6.51 p.m. Beijing time, and Zhai and Wang were out of the Tiangong space station at 8.28 p.m. Beijing time. They had installed new components on the robotic arm of the space station before midnight and used it to rehearse extravehicular manoeuvres and rescue operations.
Shenzhou-13, which means “Divine Vessel” in Chinese, is Zhai and Wang’s second and Ye’s first space voyage.
Wang is the second Chinese woman to fly in space, according to China Daily. In August 1997, she enlisted in the People’s Liberation Army Air Force. She was a deputy squadron commander before joining the PLA Astronaut Division’s second batch of astronauts in May 2010.
Wang was part of the backup crew for the Shenzhou-9 mission in March 2012. According to China Daily, she took part in the Shenzhou-10 mission in June 2013, which lasted over 15 days.