Chinese astronauts conduct second spacewalk outside the space station – Spaceflight Now

Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming greet a video camera outside the Tianhe Core Module at the Chinese space station on Friday. Credit: Xinhua

Chinese astronauts Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming conducted a nearly six-hour spacewalk outside the central module of the country’s new space station on Friday, installing a coolant pump and lifting a panoramic camera. outside the complex.

Nie and Liu exited the Tianhe Central Module airlock at 8:38 p.m. EDT Thursday (0038 GMT Friday), according to the Chinese Manned Space Agency.

The two astronauts completed their scheduled tasks by supporting the assembly of the Tiangong space station, Chinese officials said.

One of the highlights of the spacewalk was the installation of an emergency “extended pump set” to help circulate coolant through a loop of thermal control system regulating temperatures. inside the space station. The coolant dissipates the heat generated by the equipment inside the outpost and helps ensure stable and comfortable temperatures throughout the station.

Nie and Liu have completed four steps to complete the mechanical and fluid connections with the new pump, the manned Chinese Space Agency said.

During their spacewalk, the astronauts moved outside the Tianhe module using a robotic arm.

The astronauts also raised a panoramic camera outside the station to enter the Tianhe module at 2:33 a.m. EDT (0633 GMT), performing a 5 hour and 55 minute spacewalk.

Tang Hongbo, the third space station crew member, assisted the spacewalker from inside the Tianhe Central Module.

The astronauts wore Chinese-made Feitian space suits for the spacewalk, which followed a nearly seven-hour excursion on July 4 by Liu and Tang. During this spacewalk – the first from China’s new space station – astronauts installed footrests, a work platform, and a camera outside the Tianhe Module.

The spacewalk on Friday was the third in the history of the Chinese space program.

China’s first spacewalk was carried out during the Shenzhou 7 mission in 2008. On this flight, Liu and his teammate Zhai Zhigang briefly left the hatch of the Shenzhou 7 spacecraft and raised the Chinese flag. for a televised audience.

The three-man station crew was launched on June 16 on China’s Shenzhou 12 spacecraft, beginning a scheduled three-month expedition. Astronauts are the first residents aboard the Chinese space station.

Assembly of the Tiangong station began in April with the launch of the Tianhe central module on a heavy-lift Long March 5B rocket. China launched a cargo ship from Tianzhou to dock with the Tianhe module in May, followed by the arrival of the first crew ship from Shenzhou in June.

The 12 Shenzhou astronauts are on the home stretch of their mission. Before returning to Earth in mid-September, the crew will perform a circumnavigation and radial rendezvous test with their crew capsule, CMSA said.

A new supply freighter from Tianzhou is expected to be launched to the space station on a Long March 7 rocket in September, followed by the launch and docking of the next space station crew on the Shenzhou 13 spacecraft in October.

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Follow Stephen Clark on Twitter: @ StephenClark1.

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