Saturday, February 10, 2024

Shenzhou-17 Crew Celebrates Spring Festival | China Space Station

Shenzhou-17 Crew Celebrates Spring Festival | China Space Station

Astronauts aboard China's Space Station may not have been able to join the millions of Chinese in journeying back to their hometown for the Spring Festival this year but they did throw their very own Chinese New Year's party in-orbit high above the Earth. They enjoyed a traditional New Year's Eve dinner with snacks sent from ground control.

The Spring Festival, centered around the Chinese New Year, is the most important annual festival in China. The Shenzhou-17 crew on duty in outer space held a unique celebration as they hung up festive decorations inside the Tiangong Space Station and extended New Year wishes to those back on the ground.

On the New Year's Eve on Friday, Chinese astronauts Tang Hongbo, Tang Shengjie, and Jiang Xinlin put on auspicious suits with the lucky color red and hung up New Year paintings, stuck up signs with the Chinese character "fu", meaning fortune, and pasted Spring Festival couplets on the walls of the station's Tianhe core module, the Wentian experimental module, and the Mengtian experimental module, creating a strong festive vibe.

The three crew members also extended their blessings to the ground control team via video call.

Even up in space, the trio were still able to enjoy the traditional New Year's Eve dinner as the ground control team had sent them festive food such as dumplings, osmanthus cheese rice cakes, and several other favorite snacks.

"Hanging up Spring Festival couplets, watching the Spring Festival Gala, and staying up late on New Year's Eve together are the happiest moments of the year for us," said astronaut Tang Shengjie.

"Celebrating the Lunar New Year on the space station is truly extraordinary and holds significant meaning for us," added his crew-mate Jiang.

This marks the third time that Chinese astronauts have celebrated the Spring Festival in their own "space home," following the Shenzhou-13 and Shenzhou-15 missions of the previous two years.

During the first three days of the Spring Festival holiday, the astronauts are being permitted to carry out some of their own arrangements, including video chatting with relatives, friends and colleagues, and enjoying some entertainment activities. After this well-earned break, the three astronauts will then proceed with their planned program objectives.

"After having been in orbit for more than 100 days, the entire astronaut crew is in very good working condition, physical and mental condition, and are in good health. They will resume work on the fourth day of the Chinese New Year and make a lot of preparations in advance for the following extravehicular missions and some on-orbit experiments," said Wang Chunhui, deputy chief designer of astronaut system, China Astronaut Research and Training Center.

The Shenzhou-17 manned spaceship was launched on Oct. 26 last year, sending the three crew members into orbit to carry out a six-month mission aboard the Tiangong space station.

Shenzhou-17 (神舟十七) Crew:

Hongbo Tang (汤洪波) - Commander 

Shengjie Tang (唐胜杰) - Mission Specialist

Xinlin Jiang  (江新林) - Mission Specialist

Video Credit: CCTV Video News Agency

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Release Date: Feb. 10, 2024

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