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    China Space Station Crew Completes Spacewalk

    China Space Station Crew Completes Spacewalk

    — The crew of 's orbiting space station has completed the first of several planned spacewalks of their six-month mission, pushing such activities into the realm of routine for the country's astronauts.

    The China Manned Space Agency said that, during Friday's seven-hour extra-vehicular activity, Fei Junlong and Zhang Lu carried out a number of tasks, including installing extension pumps outside the Mengtian laboratory module. The third member of the Shenzhou-15 mission, Deng Qingming, assisted from inside the station. The three are scheduled to carry out several other spacewalks during their time on board.

    China completed the Tiangong station in November with the addition of the third of three modules, centered on the Tianhe living and command module.

    China built its own station after it was excluded from the International Space Station, largely due to U.S. objections over the Chinese space programs' intimate ties to the People's Liberation , the wing of the ruling Communist Party.

    International security concerns around China were underscored last week when the U.S. military shot down an alleged Chinese military spy balloon that had drifted across the continental United States. China has maintained it was a civilian weather balloon that blew off course.

    Tiangong weighs about 66 tons — a fraction of the 465-ton International Space Station. It can accommodate up to six astronauts,…

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