Skip to main content

Chinese astronauts perform second spacewalk from new space station

The International Space Station now has a new companion, as China recently launched its own orbiting space station. Chinese astronauts completed a spacewalk on Friday, August 20, to install equipment outside the station, marking the second spacewalk in the new station’s lifetime. Named Tiangong, which means “heavenly palace,” the station has already seen a first spacewalk within a few weeks of its launch.

The second spacewalk was performed by astronauts Liu Boming and Nie Haisheng, and details of the spacewalk were announced by the China Manned Space Agency, via They exited the station’s core module at 10:12 a.m. Beijing time on Friday, August 20 (10:13 p.m. EDT on Thursday, August 19) and spent four hours working on the exterior of the station. They worked on moving equipment around the station using the robotic arm and also installing a backup part of the air conditioning system.

There is one more crew member aboard the station, Tang Hongbo, who stayed inside to support his two colleagues as they worked outside during the spacewalk. The station currently has just one module, its core module called Tianhe or “Harmony of the Heavens,” but there are plans to expand this will two further modules to act as science laboratories.

China is gearing up its presence in space in a big way. With the launch of the new space station, it will soon start sending up uncrewed ships to the station to deliver cargo. As reported by the Guardian, China will launch an uncrewed Tianzhou 3 cargo ship using a Long March 7 rocket carrying supplies in advance of the arrival of its second crew later this year.

The cargo ship will be launched shortly before the crew launch, in a similar manner to how the first supply and human launch was performed. The launch of the new crew is expected to take place in October, with astronauts performing a six-month stay on the new station.

Editors' Recommendations

Georgina Torbet
Georgina is the Digital Trends space writer, covering human space exploration, planetary science, and cosmology. She…
See planets being born in new images from the Very Large Telescope
This composite image shows the MWC 758 planet-forming disc, located about 500 light-years away in the Taurus region, as seen with two different facilities. The yellow colour represents infrared observations obtained with the Spectro-Polarimetric High-contrast Exoplanet REsearch (SPHERE) instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). The blue regions on the other hand correspond to observations performed with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA).

Astronomers have used the Very Large Telescope to peer into the disks of matter from which exoplanets form, looking at more than 80 young stars to see which may have planets forming around them. This is the largest study to date on these planet-forming disks, which are often found within the same huge clouds of dust and gas that stars form within.

A total of 86 young stars were studied in three regions known to host star formation: Taurus and Chamaeleon I, each located around 600 light-years away, and Orion, a famous stellar nursery located around 1,600 light-years away. The researchers took images of the disks around the stars, looking at their structures for clues about how different types of planets can form.

Read more
Amazing Earth photos shared by outgoing ISS astronaut
Earth as seen from the International Space Station.

Andreas Mogensen became the first Dane in orbit when he arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) as part of SpaceX’s Crew-7 in August 2023.

After just over six months aboard the orbital outpost, the astronaut is now preparing to head back to Earth with his three colleagues aboard a SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft.

Read more
How to watch Crew-8 arrive at the space station tonight
A SpaceX Crew Dragon carrying the Ax-3 crew departs from the space station in February 2024.

NASA Live: Official Stream of NASA TV

SpaceX’s Crew-8 members are about to arrive at the International Space Station after launching from the Kennedy Space Center on Monday.

Read more