The Shenzhou XVI crew will soon carry out their first spacewalk, according to the China Manned Space Agency.
The agency said in a news release on Wednesday afternoon the Shenzhou XVI astronauts － commander Major General Jing Haipeng, Colonel Zhu Yangzhu, the spaceflight engineer in the team, and Professor Gui Haichao, the mission’s science payload specialist － had worked 51 days as of Wednesday and have been in good condition. They are ready for their first spacewalk and will take the walk soon.
The Shenzhou XVI trio arrived at the Chinese space station on May 30 to take over the massive orbital outpost from their Shenzhou XV peers who had stayed there for six months.
They are scheduled to live inside the space station for around five months and return to Earth in November.
Their journey is the maiden flight of China’s third generation of astronauts, and the first time a Chinese civilian has traveled to space.
So far, Jing and his crewmates have conducted a host of scientific experiments and tests and have helped ground controllers monitor the installation of science payloads outside the station.
During their orbital stay, the Shenzhou XVI team will carry out several spacewalks to mount equipment and conduct maintenance work.
Other major tasks for the crew include assisting with the docking and departure of visiting spacecraft, conducting scientific experiments and technology demonstrations and hosting lectures.
At present, Chinese astronauts have performed 12 spacewalks.