On Monday, Wang Yaping became the first Chinese woman astronaut to walk in space.
The 41-year old along with her male colleague Zhai Zhigang, had a space walk which lasted 6-1/2 hours. A third astronaut Ye Guangfu assisted the duo from inside the core module called Tianhe.
China launched its Shenzhou-13 spaceship on 16 October. It is the second of four crewed missions needed to complete Beijing’s Space station by the end of 2022. The 3 astronauts will continue the mission for 6 months. China Manned Space (CMS) agency declared, “This marks the first extravehicular activity of the Shenzhou-13 crew, and it is also the first in China’s space history involving the participation of a woman astronaut.”
“Crewed space exploration would be incomplete without the participation of women”, Yang Yuguang, Vice president of the Space Transportation Committee for the International Astronautical Federation, told Global Times.
China is constructing a space station in low Earth orbit between 340 and 450 km above the surface. It is named Tiangong, officially the Tiangong space station. It literally means “heavenly Palace”.
The first woman to walk in space was Soviet Cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984. She was followed by Kathryn Sullival, who was the first American woman to do so in the same year.