“Want to show that they have caught up”

A small step for a taikonaut, but a big step for China’s space ambitions. This weekend, two Chinese astronauts went on the country’s first tandem walk. – They want to show the outside world that they have caught up, says Kristine Dannenberg at the Swedish Space Agency.

It is less than two decades since the first Chinese was sent into orbit by the country’s space program. But since then, it has accelerated considerably. When it launched the first part of its Tiangong space station in April, it was the third “space base” in the order.

On Sunday, 13 years after the first Chinese spacewalk, Taikonauts once again stepped into space. This was when Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo worked together on the space station.

The space work, which then involved the first “tandem walk”, is described as a historic step for the Chinese space program. And not just because they had more staff in space. During the work, the two Taikonauts wore the new generation of China-made spacesuits and the work lasted almost seven hours.

– If you look from a larger space perspective, what they have done is not unique. But it is a great success for China and a proof that it has built up expertise in the field. They want to show that they are a high-tech nation, says Kristine Dannenberg, researcher at Esrange and responsible for the rocket, balloon and life science programs at the Swedish Space Agency.

The space expert says that China has invested heavily in its space program and that there are serious ambitions to become a leader in the field.

– There is a lot of achievement in the space field, especially for those, like China, who have not been established before. On the positive side, China’s efforts are encouraging other nations. The United States and Europe do not want to lag behind, she says.

However, the fact that China is working on its own space station does not mean that the country lacks the will to cooperate. Rather, it is a matter of technology agreements and agreements not making it impossible for them to participate in ISS cooperation.

– There are certain agreements and regulations in the field of technology that prevent and therefore China can not enter as a partner in the ISS. If we look at the cooperation, Russia and China have plans for a common station around the moon, but I do not think it should be seen that it can lead to a similar situation as it was during the Cold War. I think you should see it in the same way as with all other space projects. Sometimes you collaborate and in other contexts you compete, says Kristine Dannenberg.

Source: Nyteknik – Senaste nytt by www.nyteknik.se.

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