Wang Yaping, First Chinese Woman to Walk in Space

Wang Yaping, First Chinese Woman to Walk in Space

Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping made history as the country's first woman to walk in space, Sunday (11/7/2021).
According to CNN, Wang Yaping and his partner, Zhai Zhigang, are two of a three-man team on a mission to China's new space station, Tiangong.

Ummatimes - They successfully completed a 6.5-hour spacewalk in the early hours of Monday, according to China's Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

The third member of the Shenzhou-13 crew, Ye Guangfu, stays on the space station to support his two comrades' space journeys from the core module.

During the spacewalk, the team installed suspension devices and transferred connectors to the station's robotic arm, according to state-run media Global Times.

They also tested the safety of supporting equipment, including China's domestically produced spacesuits.

This is the first time the crew has left the station since their arrival on October 16.

Shortly after stepping out of the space station cabin on Sunday, Wang waved toward Earth, in a video released by the flight control center that went viral on Chinese social media.

Wang is China's second woman to undertake a mission in space, after Liu Yang made history by joining the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft in 2012.

In an interview with CNN in 2015, Wang recounted the first time he saw Earth from space.

"When I looked out the window for the first time, I realized the true meaning of life force... such beauty is beyond comprehension," he said.

State media and CMSA highlighted his achievements also after the successful spacewalk.

Before Wang, only 15 women worldwide had spaced out since 1984.

Soviet astronaut Svetlana Savitskaya was the first to do so.

So far, most female space explorers have been American NASA astronauts.

"Female space explorers are an integral part of manned space, and Wang has left her mark in history thanks to her bravery," Yang Yuguang, Deputy Chair of the Space Transport Committee for the International Astronautical Federation, told the Global Times.

Although praise poured in for Wang from official channels and state media, much of the coverage also included gender language that perpetuated stereotypes about the differences between men and women.

For example, female astronauts should have the advantage of having "a gentle personality that is good for teamwork," according to the Global Times.

The same article, citing a retired space researcher in Beijing, added that female astronauts were "more stable with an adaptable mental state," "more sensitive to any issues around them," and "better at communication than their male counterparts." ."

Another graphic in the article shows "special deliveries" made available to female astronauts, including makeup products, desserts, chocolates, and sanitary products.

Meanwhile, the Shenzhou-13 crew will still undertake one or two more space trips during their six-month stay - the longest stint in space by a Chinese astronaut.

China aims to have the station fully manned and operational by December 2022.

In September, three other Chinese astronauts successfully completed a three-month stay at the station.

They worked on the station's core modules and made two space trips to install equipment.