China conducts second spacewalk in two weeks

(ORDO NEWS) — On September 17, Chinese taikonauts Chen Dong and Cai Xiuzhe launched the second spacewalk of the Shenzhou 14 mission, just two weeks after the first. Taikonaut Liu Yang operated the robotic arm from inside the main Tianhe module.

The spacewalk began at 05:35 UTC with the opening of the Wentian Airlock. Wentian was the first science module to be launched earlier this year. It not only provides the station with scientific capabilities, but is also equipped with an airlock for spacewalks.

About two hours after the initial opening of the airlock, Cai Xiuzhe and Chen Dong exited the airlock to install a foot rest that could be used to attach astronauts to the robotic arm and install a new emergency handle that could open the hatch door from the outside.

Also included in this spacewalk was the installation of additional pumps to help the station’s thermal management system.

The total duration of the EVA was four hours and 12 minutes, with Chen Dong performing his second EVA during the Shenzhou 14 mission while Cai Xiuzhe performed his first EVA. He stayed inside during the last spacewalk.

During the later stages of the exit, they also conducted a test of rescue operations when Cai Xiuzhe unhooked both hands from the handrail to simulate an emergency.

Chen Dong then conducted a simulated rescue operation. This is a simulation of the case when one of the astronauts lost consciousness during a spacewalk.

Overall, the EVA was completed faster than originally planned – the original duration was planned to be six hours.


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