Thursday, November 03, 2022

Shenzhou-14 Crew Enters New Mengtian Research Lab | China Space Station

Shenzhou-14 Crew Enters New Mengtian Research Lab | China Space Station

The Shenzhou-14 crew, commander Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe, entered the Mengtian Laboratory Module on November 3, 2022, at 07:12 UTC (15:12 China Standard Time). The China Space Station is now in its planned T-shape configuration of the Tianhe Core Module, the Wentian Laboratory Module and the Mengtian Laboratory Module.

The Mengtian module is similar to Tianhe and Wentian in size and weight. It is 17.9 meters long with a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters. It consists of a working cabin for astronauts/taikonauts, an airlock cabin, a payload cabin and a resource cabin. Mengtian is mainly designed for scientific experiments. Unlike Tianhe and Wentian, it does not have a sleeping cabin. Instead, it is full of cabinets that can support hundreds of experiments.

The transposition of the Mengtian lab module was completed at 9:32 a.m. (BJT) on Thursday, November 3, 2022, marking the completion of the basic T-shaped structure of China's space station, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMS).

The T-shaped structure is formed by the Tianhe core module and Wentian and Mengtian lab modules. Tianhe provides life support for astronauts on board and functions as the control center of the space station, while Mengtian and Wentian are mainly for microgravity scientific research and space life science research, respectively. 

During the transposition maneuver, Mengtian first completed its state configuration and separated from Tianhe. It then conducted the transposition and docked with the side port of the space station's node cabin. The transposition process took about one hour, according to the CMS.

Mengtian will also serve future extravehicular research projects of the space station, with its cargo airlock cabin and a deployed extravehicular platform, the CMS said earlier.

The science equipment that needs to be installed outside will first be sent to the space station by cargo craft, then transferred outside through the cargo airlock cabin, and then installed on the extravehicular platform by mechanical arms or taikonauts/astronauts. 

The CMS plans to carry out functional tests and evaluation of the space station assembly in the future. 

Credit: China National Space Administration (CNSA)/China Central Television (CCTV)

Acknowledgement: SciNews

Duration: 1 minute, 40 seconds

Release Date: November 3, 2022

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