41-year-old astronaut is first Chinese woman to walk in space

The second female astronaut in China, Wang first went to space in 2013.

Jean Chien Tay | November 09, 2021, 04:40 PM

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On Nov. 7, 41-year-old astronaut Wang Yaping made history by becoming the first Chinese woman to walk in space, Reuters reported.

Part of China's "Shenzhou-13" space mission, Wang and the mission commander Zhai Zhigang ventured out of the Tianhe core module for about six and a half hours, and were supported by teammate Ye Guangfu from inside the core module, according to Global Times (GT).

After carrying out installation works around the space module, both Wang and Zhai reportedly returned safely to the Tianhe module at around 1:16am on Nov. 8.

The Tianhe module is the first of three modules that will make up China's space station -- the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) Space Station. According to the New York Times (NYT), Tiangong is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

After arriving at the space station on Oct. 16, the "Shenzhou-13" team of three is expected to spend six months in space, which is twice as long as the previous "Shenzhou-12" mission, and the longest stint in space for Chinese astronauts, CNN reported.

According to The Guardian, the mission will set up equipment and test technology for future construction on the Tiangong Space Station.

Second female Chinese astronaut

Wang is only the 16th woman in history to have completed the feat of walking in space, and she is also China's second female astronaut, as per CNN.

According to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA), Wang first went to space in June 2013 on the "Shenzhou-10" mission.

Her predecessor, Liu Yang, was the first Chinese female astronaut who previously joined the "Shenzhou-9" mission in 2012, People's Daily reported.

During her first space mission, Wang delivered China's first televised science lecture in orbit to over 60 million children and teachers, according to GT, which lauded it as a "big success".

She will reportedly give another "space lecture".

Daughter asked her to "pick stars"

In an interview prior to Wang's departure, she told China Global Television Network that both her and her five-year-old daughter had assigned tasks to each other.

Wang's daughter wanted her to "pick a lot (of stars)" during her time in space, so she could share it with her classmates, while Wang hoped that her daughter would study hard, and take good care of herself and her grandparents.

Chinese netizens celebrate achievement

Wang's achievement received much fanfare on Chinese social media site Weibo, with a video of her exiting the Tianhe module going viral.

"Zero Two (Wang's code), feeling good", the astronaut can be heard saying after she exited the module in the video, which has since garnered over 19,000 "likes" and 1,600 "shares".

The comments section was also flooded with congratulatory messages celebrating Wang's achievement.

"She's here! She's here! She's in outer space!"

"That little wave (from Wang) made me feel like crying."

"I've witnessed history."

Another Weibo user also reminded her of her task of "picking stars" for her daughter.

"Sister (Wang) can now go pick the stars"

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Top image adapted via Xinhua & Weibo