Wang Yaping has successfully completed a 6.5 hour equipment installation spacewalk.

Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping successfully completes the first space walk of the Shenzhou-13 crew as part of the Tiangong space station's ongoing construction.
Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping successfully completes the first space walk of the Shenzhou-13 crew as part of the Tiangong space station's ongoing construction. (Reuters)

Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping has conducted a spacewalk, the first by a woman in China's space history.

Wang stepped out of the main module of the Chinese Tiangong space station along with another crew member on Sunday night to complete a 6.5 hour equipment installation.

Wang and Zhai Zhigang safely returned to the station core module early on Monday, according to China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

"This marks the first extravehicular activity of the Shenzhou-13 crew, and it is also the first in China's space history involving the participation of a woman astronaut," CMSA said.

"The whole process was smooth and successful," CMSA concluded.

The spacewalk was the first since the arrival of the three-member team at the space station on October 16.

China’s first long-term space station

Sunday's operation came just weeks after Wang, Zhai and their third team member, Ye Guangfu, blasted off from the Jiuquan launch centre in northwestern China's Gobi desert.

Tiangong, meaning "heavenly palace", is the latest achievement in China's drive to become a major space power after landing a rover on Mars and sending probes to the Moon.

Its core module entered orbit earlier this year. The station is expected to be functional by 2022 and is estimated to operate for at least 10 years.

The three astronauts are the second group to stay at Tiangong. The previous record-breaking crew, who made the first mission to the station, returned to Earth in September after spending three months there.

The team is expected to spend six months on the building mission at the station.

According to the CMSA, the Shenzhou-13 crew will carry out one or two more spacewalks.

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies