On Sunday night, astronaut Wang Yaping and her colleague Zhai Zhigang exited the module, waving to the camera while tethered to the outside of the station, and installed a suspension device and transfer connectors.

Authorities said Monday that astronaut Wang Yaping became the first Chinese woman to walk in space after her team completed a six-hour stint outside the Tiangong space station as part of its ongoing construction.

Tiangong, which means "heavenly palace," is the latest achievement in China's drive to become a major space power, following the landing of a rover on Mars and the launch of probes to the Moon.

The station's core module was launched into orbit earlier this year, and it is expected to be operational by 2022.

Wang and her colleague Zhai Zhigang exited the module on Sunday night, waving to the camera while tethered to the station's exterior, and installed a suspension device and transfer connectors.

"This is the first extravehicular activity of the Shenzhou-13 crew, as well as the first in China's space history involving the participation of a female astronaut," the China Manned Space Agency said in a statement released early Monday.

"The entire process was smooth and successful," the agency added before declaring it complete.

Tiangong is expected to remain operational for at least ten years, and the three astronauts are the second group to do so. Wang is the first female visitor.

Zhai, the mission commander, is a former fighter pilot who led China's first spacewalk in 2008.

The mission took place just weeks after Wang, Zhai, and a third team member, Ye Guangfu, took off from the Jiuquan launch center in northwest China's Gobi desert.

Ye is a People's Liberation Army pilot who stayed inside during the walk to support his crewmates.

Their tasks include installing equipment and testing technology for future construction, with at least one more spacewalk planned.

The team is expected to stay at the station for six months.

The previous record-breaking crew, which launched the first mission to Tiangong, returned to Earth in September after a three-month stay.


Related Blogs