Saturday, June 18, 2022

China Shenzhou-14 Crew's First Week at Tiangong Space Station

China Shenzhou-14 Crew's First Week at Tiangong Space Station

Three Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts, successfully arrived at the core module of China's Tiangong Space Station on June 5, 2022. Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzhe are adapting to microgravity at the start of their six-month long duration mission to complete the construction of the facility. Liu became the first Chinese woman in space during the Shenzhou-9 Mission in 2012. Shenzhou-14 represents the second space mission for Chen Dong and Liu Yang. Cai Xuzhe is on his first. 

The astronauts first needed to fetch living necessities from the Tianzhou-4 cargo craft, said Liu Weibo, deputy chief designer of the astronaut system of China's manned space project. "They need to transfer things such as food, water, air filters and set them up in the core module."

Setting up all the equipment and moving around the supplies were the astronauts' main tasks during the first week of their stay. Tianzhou-4, which holds supplies for the Shenzhou-14 crewed mission, docked with the combination of Tianhe core module and Tianzhou-3 cargo vessel in May 2022.

With a length of 10.6 meters and a maximum diameter of 3.35 meters, the Tianzhou-4 cargo ship carried about 6 tons of goods and 750 kg of propellant for the space station complex. Colored tags were put on parcels with different goods, so that the astronauts can quickly identify and find the goods they need. 

The lab module Wentian is scheduled to arrive in July 2022, the lab module Mengtian in October, and then the Tianzhou-5 cargo craft and the Shenzhou-15 crew mission spacecraft later this year. The Wentian and Mengtian lab modules will provide larger platforms for scientific experiments in microgravity. Nearly 100 experiments are planned during the construction phase of China's space station. After operations are normalized, larger-scale scientific research will be conducted. This is expected to effectively promote breakthroughs in major frontier scientific fields, such as dark matter and dark energy, galaxy formation and evolution, laws about the nature of matter, as well as in sustainable development on Earth. 

Credit: China Global Television Network (CGTN)

Duration: 2 minutes, 40 seconds

Release Date: June 15, 2022

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