Updated on: Monday, November 08, 2021, 05:41 PM IST

Meet Wang Yaping: The first Chinese woman to walk in space




Wang Yaping has become the first Chinese female astronaut to conduct spacewalk outside the Tianhe space station module, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

Yaping along with Zhai Zhigang, and Ye Guangfu, which form the Shenzhou 13 crew, had launched to the Chinese space station on October 15 to kick off a six-month expedition to the orbital lab.

The spacewalk marks the first of the Shenzhou-13 mission, and the third of its kind during the country's space station building period, the CMSA said.

It has verified the performance of China's home-developed spacesuit, the ability of the astronauts to work with the robotic arm and the reliability and safety of the supporting equipment.

"By 1.16 a.m. Monday, spacewalking Shenzhou-13 members Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping had safely returned to China's Tianhe space station core module. Their spacewalk lasted for about 6.5 hours and the two completed all planned tasks," the Global Times reported.

Together, Yaping and Zhigang first installed foot stoppers and a working platform to the robotic arm before they worked together to install a suspension device and transfer connectors to the robotic arm. The CMSA noted that the robotic arm played an important supporting role in the process, the report said.

Yaping, shortly after stepping out the cabin, waved back to Earth, and said she felt great, according video by the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center that went viral on Chinese social media on Sunday night.

The Shenzhou-13 crew will carry out another one or two spacewalks. The major objectives include installing an adaptor to allow Tianhe's large arm to connect to another, smaller arm that will be on a future module.

Just two of 12 Chinese astronauts to have flown to space, so far, have been women. Yaping is the second Chinese woman to be in space in 2013 on Shenzhou 10, after Liu Yang on Shenzhou 9 in 2012.

Yaping visited Tiangong 1, a space lab which was designed as a test bed for the much larger Tianhe module. During the mission, the 41-year-old taikonaut (a Chinese astronaut) also delivered a lecture to school children from orbit.

Wang is also known to have been in training earlier this year for space station missions.

Wang was born in 1980 in Yantai, East China's Shandong Province. She has been given the honorary title of "Hero Astronaut," according to the CMSA website.

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Published on: Monday, November 08, 2021, 05:37 PM IST