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Shenzhou XV astronauts to conduct first spacewalk
File image showing China's Shenzhou 14 astronauts Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Wentian conducting an EVA Mission at Tiangong Space Station in 2022
Shenzhou XV astronauts to conduct first spacewalk
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Feb 09, 2023

The Shenzhou XV mission crew, who are now inside the Tiangong space station, are scheduled to carry out their first spacewalk soon, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

The agency said in a brief news release on Wednesday afternoon the Shenzhou XV astronauts - mission commander Major General Fei Junlong, Senior Colonel Deng Qingming and Senior Colonel Zhang Lu - had lived inside the station for 70 days as of Wednesday and were in a good mood.

"The Tiangong space station is in stable condition. All necessary elements for extravehicular activity have been in place. The 'dream-chasing' crew are about to make their first spacewalk," the release said.

Sources close to the Tiangong program said two astronauts in the crew are expected to install and fine-tune equipment outside the massive station, adding this will be challenging because this will be the first time for them to fly out of a spacecraft.

Fei's team arrived at the station on Nov 30. They are scheduled to stay until May, when they will be relieved by the crew of Shenzhou XVI.

Shenzhou XV marks Fei's return to space after a 17-year wait. The 57-year-old veteran was part of the Shenzhou VI flight in October 2005.

This marks the first space journey for both Deng, 56, and Zhang, 46. Deng is the last serving member of China's first group of astronauts to take part in a spaceflight while Zhang had been the only one in the second generation without spaceflight experience before the mission.

The Shenzhou XV crew are tasked with staying in orbit for six months to carry out a number of assignments, such as conducting spacewalks to mount equipment outside the station, installing and testing scientific cabinets and conducting scientific experiments and technological demonstrations, mission officials have said.

As one of the largest ever space-based assets, the Tiangong station now consists of the Tianhe core module, the Wentian and Mengtian science capsules, the Shenzhou XV spacecraft and the Tianzhou 5 cargo ship.

It has an overall weight of nearly 100 metric tons and is expected to operate in orbit for about 10 years and will be open to foreign astronauts in the near future.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Related Links
China Manned Space Agency
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

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