Chinese astronauts set new record for time spent in space

May 30, 2024  20:50

Chnes astronauts Ye Guangfu and Li Guangsu conducted on May 28, 2023a spacewalk lasting 8.5 hours—a record duration for China.

This was the first spacewalk of the six-month Shenzhou-18 mission, whose crew arrived at the Tiangong space station at the end of April.

During the spacewalk, Ye and Li installed a debris protection device and inspected equipment and systems outside the station. Space debris is an increasing problem for the Chinese space program. Recently, Tiangong was partially powered down after its solar panels were damaged by debris.

The spacewalk was the first for Li and the second for Ye, who had previously conducted a spacewalk during the Shenzhou-13 mission in December 2021. The third member of the Shenzhou-18 crew, Li Kong, provided support from inside the station, monitoring the activities of the spacewalkers.

The Shenzhou-18 mission plans to conduct a series of scientific experiments and tests, as well as several additional spacewalks. To date, taikonauts have conducted 16 spacewalks since 2008, when Zhai Zhigang became the first Chinese astronaut to exit a spacecraft.

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