Two astronauts have worked outside of China's space station for the first time, completing only the second spacewalk in the country's space program's history.

On July 3, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo began the six-hour and 46-minute extravehicular activity (EVA). Liu was the first to leave the Tianhe core module of the space station, followed by Tang three hours later.

The two Shenzhou 12 crewmates installed the space station with tools needed to support future activities while wearing modified Chinese Feitian spacesuits.

Liu, working alone initially, attached a foot restraint and platform to the end of the station's 33-foot-long (10-meter) robotic arm and then climbed it himself. The arm's controls were then tested by Shenzhou 12 commander Nie Haisheng, who moved Liu from inside the Tianhe module.

Tang, who was tied to the space station's handrails, later assisted Liu in extending a panoramic camera. They then worked together to install additional EVA equipment using the robotic arm.

"After about seven hours of exterior activities, the Shenzhou 12 crewmates working closely together successfully completed all the scheduled tasks during the spacewalk," China's Manned Space Agency announced at the end of the EVA.

Liu and Tang concluded their spacewalk at 2:57 a.m. EDT Sunday.

second spacewalk is planned for later in the Shenzhou 12 mission, which launched June 16 with Nie, Liu, and Tang and is slated to last three months. In addition to testing procedures, the EVAs are preparing the station for expansion with the addition of two laboratory modules, which will be launched in 2022.

Zhai Zhigang, commander of the Shenzhou 7 mission, performed China's first spacewalk in 2008. Liu was part of that mission's crew as well, and during the 22-minute outing, he completed a stand-up EVA, sticking his head out of the hatch while wearing a Russian Orlan spacesuit.