Wednesday, July 27, 2022

China Shenzhou-14 Updates: Crew Enters New Wentian China Space Station Module

China Shenzhou-14 Updates: Crew Enters New Wentian China Space Station Module

The Wentian Laboratory Module successfully docked to the front docking port of the Tianhe Core Modulethe first and main component of the China Space Station—on July 24, 2022, at 19:13 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The Shenzhou-14  crew, astronauts Chen Dong (commander), Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe entered the Wentian Laboratory Module on July 25, 2022, at 02:03 UTC.

As a major component of the China Space Station, the Wentian lab module functions as an experiment platform for life sciences, while providing taikonauts (Chinese astronauts) with more space to live and work, and while serving as a full backup to the space station's key systems. 

This marked the first time that China's two 20-ton-level spacecraft had conducted rendezvous and docking in orbit, and also the first time that space rendezvous and docking were carried out during the astronauts' in-orbit stay at the China Space Station, the China Manned Space Agency (CMS) said.

Moreover, for the first time, the taikonauts in orbit can use the airlock cabin in Wentian to carry out extravehicular activities (EVAs) or spacewalks. The node cabin in the core module, which usually serves as the exit and entry for EVAs, will become a backup for the new airlock cabin.

Compared with the node cabin, the airlock cabin has a larger door, which is more convenient for the taikonauts to enter and exit the spacecraft as well as to transfer tools and maintenance equipment. 

Finally, the Shenzhou-14 crew will, for the first time, be aided by a small mechanical arm to carry out EVAs. 

Video Credit: China National Space Administration (CNSA)/China Media Group(CMG)/China Central Television (CCTV)

Acknowledgement: SciNews

Duration: 3 minutes, 26 seconds

Release Date: July 25, 2022

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