Shenzhou 14 Taikonauts complete first EVA spacewalk…later Wentian module is moved to make Chinese Space Station an “L” shape

by | Sep 2, 2022 | China, space station

Shenzhou 14’s mission commander Chen Dong, and crew member Liu Yang began their first spacewalk after opening the airlock cabin of the Chinese Experiment Module 1 Wentian at 1026 GMT on 1 September. Fellow astronaut Cai Xuzhe provided support work from within the stations core module.

Liu Yang joins Chen Dong on Shenzhou 14’s first EVA. Courtesy: GLOBALink – Zinhuo Global Service

Taikonauts Dong and Yang completed the installation of the extended pump set on Wentian and raised the omnidirectional camera on the lab module alongside other tasks with the help of Wentian’s small mechanical robotic arm. Dong and Yang used the airlock cabin in the Wentian lab module for the first time, unlike the Shenzhou 12 and Shenzhou 13 crew, who exited the space station through the Tianhe core cabin. The airlock cabin is one metre wide while the Tianhe hatch is just 85 centimetres wide. The wider exit will become the main exit/entry point for future EVAs as it allows taikonauts to more easily transport tools and equipment. The taikonauts returned to Wentian around the six hour mark.

The Shenzhou 14 crew have been docked with the Chinese Space Station at the Tianhe module nadir port since 5 June. During the past 88 days on the space station, the crew have completed in-orbit medical checks, carried out weightlessness protection exercises and training programs, including emergency evacuation drills. They also transferred supplies from Tianzhou 3 cargo craft which had autonomously docked with the Chinese Space Station in April.

Chen Dong was previously onboard Shenzhou 11, which was launched on 16 October 2016, while Liu Yang became the first Chinese female in space as a crew member of Shenzhou 9 on 16 June 2012.

Update on 30 September 2022: On 30 September the Wentian module was relocated (via a robot arm reberthing operation) from the Tianhe end docking port to a side port, making the station temporarily an an “L” shape in configuration. The operation was completed at 0444 GMT.

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