Space & Astronomy
Questions surround Chinese astronauts' mystery spacewalk
By T.K. Randall
March 4, 2023 · 6 comments
An artist's rendering of Tiangong's current configuration. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Shujianyang
Two Chinese astronauts recently conducted a secretive spacewalk outside the Tiangong space station.
It would be fair to say that China isn't exactly transparent when it comes to its activities in space.
Whereas NASA and ESA announce planned EVAs well in advance, China attracted criticism this week for conducting a spacewalk in secret and then only announcing that it had taken place afterward.
Even the Soviets used to reveal the start and end times of their spacewalks, which makes the level of secrecy in China's case seem particularly strange and suspicious.
No specific details about the most recent spacewalk, which was conducted by astronauts Fei Junlong and Zhang Lu outside the Tiangong space station, have so far been disclosed.
Even China's previous spacewalks had at least been hinted at beforehand.
"The Chinese authorities are not doing themselves any favors by not providing much transparency about their crewed spaceflight operations," space policy expert Bleddyn Bowen told SpaceNews
"If they want to be seen as a more normal space power, everyday crewed spaceflight operations - which have little to no security and military importance - can be more openly reported and talked about."
"The Chinese authorities also need to get more used to talking honestly about delays and unforeseen challenges as some other space powers have done."
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