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China Conducts Spacewalk to Test Solar Panel Repair

Photo from Google

On December 21, astronauts Hongbo Tang and Shengjie Tang completed a roughly 7.5-hour spacewalk outside China’s space station’s Wentian Laboratory Module, marking the mission’s first EVA.

Photo from Google

China’s Shenzhou-17 Mission Achieves Milestone with Successful Spacewalk and Solar Panel Repair Test

The spacewalk, assisted by astronaut Xinlin Jiang from the Tianhe Core Module, comprised important chores like a solar panel repair test.

Tang, wearing a spacesuit, used a robotic arm to fix the core module’s solar wing during the spacewalk. Astronaut Jiang controlled the robotic arm within the core module, emphasizing the precision and skill needed for high-level repairs. This spacewalk was unique because it repaired minor damage to the space station’s solar wings caused by small space particles.

China’s manned space program deputy chief designer Dong Nengli stressed the importance of maintenance skills for the space station’s long-term stability. Non-design state maintenance, or experimental servicing, requires repair target-specific methods, adding uncertainty. Due to the difficult conditions between the core module and the solar wing, the astronauts carefully studied and photographed the solar wing details during the spacewalk.

READ ALSO: Japan’s Asteroid Explorer – Homeward Bound

Precision Demonstrated: Shenzhou-17 Accomplishes Spacewalk and Solar Panel Repair Test

Since the solar wing was flexible and thin, precise and coherent movements were needed to avoid errors. Dong stressed that astronauts must operate in the shadows to ensure proper positioning. The astronauts’ 20–30 precise and compact motions showed the extravehicular task’s intricacy, separating it from earlier exercises.

This spacewalk, part of the October 26 Shenzhou-17 mission, is essential to China’s space capabilities. The mission’s space science experiments, technological tests, and extravehicular activities demonstrate China’s space program dedication. China’s successful repair test shows its commitment to learning space maintenance skills for its space station.

READ ALSO: China Spacewalk: Solar Panel Repair Test

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