China launches Shenzhou 14
China launched the Shenzhou 14 spacecraft on Sunday. The craft carried three crew members, also known as Taikonauts, namely commander Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzhe. The launched spacecraft blasted off on Sunday morning from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Mangolia. However, the three astronauts are in good condition, as mentioned by the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).
(More on China’s Shenzhou satellite mission here)
(More on China opens the Shenzhou 13 capsule that is back to the Earth Here)
Who are the major triple crew?
The triple crew included Senior Colonel Chen Dong, who is a veteran taikonaut. Chen Dong already visited space in China’s Shenzhou-II manned space mission in 2016. He also set a record as the Chinese astronauts who stayed in space for the longest period of about 33 days. Chen Dong now acts as the mission commander of the Shenzhou-14 mission.
The crew also includes another female, Senior Colonel Liu Yang, who also visited space in 2012 in China’s Shenzhou-9 mission. She is also the first Chinese woman to visit space. As part of her 6-month stay in the space station, she mentioned that the crew was very excited to celebrate the birthday of their motherland for the first time. Her talk at the press conference also included mentioning their eagerness to celebrate the Mid-Autumn festival and gathering of Chinese people.
Finally, the third member is Senior Colonel Cai Xuzhe, who hasn’t visited space before. So, he will be making his space debut with the Shenzhou 14 mission. In a recent press conference, he added that he is proud to get this chance to land in space for his country.
The present triple crew of the Shenzhou-14 mission is the second batch of taikonauts that China has trained to date.
Shenzhou 14 arrives at Tiangong space station
After the launch failed, the Shenzhou 14 reached the Tiangong space station in China, which is popularly known as the “Palace in the Sky”. The Taikonauts have been inspecting the craft since the time it arrived at Tiangong’s core module. Some of their main responsibilities include making sure that the crew environment is properly set up, checking the oxygen production, drinking water availability, sanitation, and sleeping conditions, as said by Wang Saijin, the deputy chief designer.
The crew’s 6-month stay at Tiangong
After the spacecraft reaches the Tiangong space station, the triple crew is expected to stay on China’s new space station for a period of about six months. During their 6-month stay, the crew is expected to reach China’s aim by completing the construction of Tiangong by the end of 2022. The crew is expected to receive a number of visitors during their stay at the space station. They will also take responsibility for the two lab modules – the Shenzhou-15 manned mission and the Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft mission. However, China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) mentioned at its pre-launch conference that the three members of the crew are scheduled to return to Earth in December.
(More on China opens Space Station to work with foreign astronauts here)
(More on Chinese Astronauts Returns Home after 6 Months here)
What activities are part of the 6-month stay?
The 6-month stay of the crew at the space station includes their contribution to the construction of the space station. Their work includes assisting the two major lab modules- Wentian and Mengtian lab modules. They are also entitled to assemble and test the equipment both inside and outside the cabins. The crew also carries out multiple space science experiments as part of their 6-month stay.
The 6-month stay of the astronauts at the Tiangong space station will finally result in the successful establishment of a national space laboratory. This laboratory consists of the two lab modules and Tianhe core cabin that will be completed during the Shenzhou-14 mission.
Just as in the previous Chinese space missions, the Shenzhou-14 crewed mission will also educate youngsters on the ground by giving them proper classes. The crew are also entitled to use the airlock cabin in the Wentian module for the first time which is further used to exit the station for extravehicular activities. All the above activities are supposed to be arranged for about two or three times in the 6-month period.
Out of the two lab modules, the first one- the Wentian lab module is supposed to launch in July and the second lab module- the Mengtian is scheduled to launch in the month of October. So, the 6-month stay of the astronauts include several activities that make the space station more structed and established.
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