Raumfahrt - Chinas Space Station - Mission Update 4


Building a home in the sky


After initial solid steps, upcoming missions will ensure operation of China's Tiangong space station. China plans to conduct its Shenzhou XIII manned space flight this month, sending three astronauts to stay six months inside the country's Tiangong space station.

During their mission, the astronauts, whose names have yet to be disclosed, will be mainly tasked with demonstrating and testing key technologies involved in the assembly and future operations of the Chinese space station, according to Zhou Yaqiang, a chief designer at the China Manned Space Agency's Technical Bureau.

"Specifically speaking, they will verify the equipment and technologies for longtime flight with the station. Like their peers in the Shenzhou XII mission, they will carry out spacewalks to test the robotic arm and other instruments for extravehicular activities, and will also conduct scientific experiments to accumulate experience for the station's construction and operations," Zhou said.

Shenzhou XIII will be the fourth spacecraft to visit China's permanent space station, named Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace, and also the second crewed ship to transport astronauts to the orbiting outpost.

The first astronauts inside Tiangong-Major General Nie Haisheng, Major General Liu Boming and Senior Colonel Tang Hongbo-finished their 92-day Shenzhou XII mission in mid-September.

They flew 90 days with Tiangong and made two spacewalks to use a large robotic arm and other equipment to install and adjust devices outside the station. They also performed a number of scientific experiments and technological tests, and made video calls with President Xi Jinping and hundreds of researchers, teachers and students in Hong Kong.

Their work was expected to enable the China Manned Space Agency to accumulate experience and check the capability, performance and compatibility of systems involved in the Tiangong space station program to prepare for the next steps in its construction.

One of China's most challenging and sophisticated space endeavors, Tiangong will consist of three main components-a core module attached to two space labs-with a combined weight of nearly 70 metric tons. The entire station is set to work for about 15 years in a low-Earth orbit about 400 kilometers above the planet.

The station's core module-Tianhe, or Harmony of Heavens-was lifted by a Long March 5B heavy-lift rocket at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province in late April.

The biggest and heaviest spacecraft China has ever constructed, Tianhe is 16.6 meters long and has a diameter of 4.2 meters. The craft's weight, at 22.5 tons, is equal to the combined weight of 15 standard-size automobiles. It has three parts: a connecting section, a life-support and control section, and a resources section.

The craft is now connected with the Tianzhou 2 robotic cargo ship that was launched from the Wenchang facility in late May and the Tianzhou 3, which was lifted from Wenchang last month.

In 2022, two large space labs will be launched to connect with the core module. Moreover, two manned missions and two robotic cargo flights will be made that year to continue construction of the Tiangong station, which is scheduled to become complete and start formal operation around the end of 2022.

Upon its completion, Tiangong will be manned regularly by groups of three astronauts in periods lasting several months. During handovers to new three-astronaut groups, the station will accommodate up to six astronauts.

In April 1971, the former Soviet Union became the first in the world to operate a space station with the deployment of its Salyut 1 station in a low-Earth orbit. Since then, 10 space stations have been launched and most of them were built by the Soviet Union.

Before Tiangong, the only operational station was the International Space Station, a joint effort by several national space agencies including the United States' NASA and Russia's Roscosmos. However, China has been excluded from the project since its very beginning mainly because of US objections.

The first part of the 419-ton ISS, the largest and heaviest spacecraft mankind has ever built, was launched in 1998 by a Russian rocket, and since then the station has gradually taken shape as more components were lifted and assembled.

The station was completed in 2011 and is reportedly set to retire by the end of the decade, which will likely leave the Tiangong as the only operational station until the next station is constructed in orbit.

Scientific platform
Hao Chun, director of the China Manned Space Agency, has said his agency will strive to ensure that it makes the best use of the Tiangong to advance space science, technology and application.

He said scientists will be able to take advantage of the facility's unique environment to perform mutation breeding experiments, produce special medicines and create new materials, thus generating scientific, technological and economic benefits.

In addition, the agency has signed agreements with the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs on space station cooperation. The two organizations have jointly issued a statement inviting scientists from around the world to submit their research proposals for an opportunity to conduct their own experiments aboard the Chinese station.

"As of now, 17 nations have confirmed their participation in nine scientific tasks on our station, with related work proceeding well," Hao told China Daily in an earlier interview. "We will continue working with the UN's outer space office to solicit proposals for future scientific collaborations."

The official said there will be more than 20 cabinets aboard the station reserved for scientific instruments that were designed in accordance with international standards, adding that they will be available for collaborators.

Moreover, Hao said there definitely will be foreign astronauts on the Chinese station.

Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said at a daily briefing after the Shenzhou XII crew returned to Earth that China's manned space programs have contributed greatly to mankind's peaceful development of outer space, and the country will continue broadening and deepening its cooperation and communication with the international community to build the Chinese space station into a shared laboratory to bring benefits to all people on the globe.

Continuous efforts

To support the Tiangong program, the Astronaut Center of China has been training the third group of Chinese astronauts since October 2020.

The 18 new astronauts-17 men and one woman-are in three groups: seven will become spacecraft pilots, another seven will be space flight engineers and the last four mission payload specialists, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

They are undergoing systematic and sophisticated training before qualifying for space missions, it said.

Before them, China had 21 astronauts from two generations. Among them, 12 have taken part in space flights during seven missions. Several in the two generations who had not taken part in any space flight during their service have retired.

The selection for the third-generation team began in May 2018 and finished in September 2020, involving three rounds of tests. About 2,500 applicants participated in the process.

The new spaceship pilots were chosen from aviators from the People's Liberation Army Air Force. The space flight engineers are former researchers or technicians in aeronautics, astronautics and other related fields, while mission payload specialists were selected from those involved in space science and applications for China's manned space program.

In addition, Chinese engineers are developing a next-generation crewed vehicle that is expected to feature world-class designs and technologies, high reliability and flexibility, reusability and multiple functions.

It will be tasked with serving Tiangong's future operations as well as the country's manned lunar missions that are being planned by scientists.

The new craft will consist of two major parts-a reentry module that will house astronauts and serve as the control center for the entire craft during a space flight, and a service module that will contain power and propulsion systems.

The vehicle will have a length of nearly 9 meters, a diameter of 4.5 meters and a weight of 22 tons.

Long history
As a major symbol of the space age, manned space flight first emerged in China's space plans in the mid-1960s.

Chinese scientists and engineers soon began research and development for a crewed spaceship and started training a small group of astronaut candidates selected from elite Air Force pilots. All of their work was kept secret.

However, the endeavor had to be stopped in the mid-1970s due to financing and technological obstacles.

From the mid-1980s, Chinese scientists began to urge the government to consider reopening the manned space program as they were convinced that it would be crucial to the future of the country's space industry.

In August 1992, a special government committee decided that China will develop manned spacecraft and train astronauts and the ultimate goal is to assemble and operate a space station in the near future. The plan was approved in September that year by the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, officially unfolding the nation's manned space program that involves hundreds of thousands of researchers, engineers and technicians.

On Oct 15, 2003, the country carried out its first manned space flight, sending Yang Liwei on a 21-hour journey around the mother planet in the Shenzhou V spacecraft.

Since then, China has conducted seven manned space flights, which totaled 160 days and sent 12 Chinese astronauts into orbit.

Quelle: SD


Update: 8.10.2021


China Focus: Chinese space station's public interaction inspires imagination


The crew of Shenzhou-13 will enter China's space station and stay there for six months, after a three-month mission of the Shenzhou-12 crew.

The Chinese astronauts' long-term stay in the space station and frequent interaction with the public have inspired extensive support and a vision for space exploration in the country.


The space station has started the construction stage after the core module Tianhe went into orbit on April 29, 2021. The new designs and technologies for the space station make the astronauts' lives more convenient and colorful.

The station offers astronauts more than 100 cubic meters of room for living and working, more than six times that of the Tiangong-2 space lab. The core module Tianhe provides astronauts six zones respectively for work, sleep, sanitation, dining, healthcare, and exercise.

The large bandwidth can support the transmission of large amounts of data to the ground, making it possible for the public to closely follow the lives and work of Chinese astronauts for the first time.

As of the end of September, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) has issued more than 20 video clips through its social media accounts to the public, recording the in-orbit life and work of the astronauts. It includes extravehicular activities (EVAs), physical exercise, health examinations, and watching the Tokyo Olympic games in August.

In an interview with Chinese media, the three astronauts told the audience they have several entertainment activities in their spare time, such as listening to music, playing shadow boxing, or jogging in space on a treadmill.

In front of the camera, they even showed how to play ping-pong in space by using a racket to hit the ball back and forth. The ball is fixed to the tip of an elastic stick.

Besides the astronaut videos, the Chinese space industry has provided more related materials to the public. The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), in charge of the development of the Chinese space station, released a video series on the space station itself. It shows technical innovations of the station, such as a mechanical arm and cabin equipment.


China's space authorities make as much effort on the ground as in space. In the latest back-to-school season in September 2021, they organized space popularization activities in middle schools, universities, and museums to inspire future generations.

China's first space traveler, Yang Liwei, also deputy chief designer of China's manned space program, visited the Beijing No. 5 Middle School on Sept. 1 and gave students a speech during the school's opening ceremony. He encouraged them to partake in the country's space exploration and believed they could "fly higher and farther."

Yang had written an article entitled "One Day in Space" to recall his space adventure. It is included in the Chinese textbook for middle school students across the country.

On Sept. 3, the three Shenzhou-12 crew members had a live conversation with about 300 representatives of university and middle school students, teachers, and sci-tech researchers in Hong Kong SAR.

Nie Haisheng, the crew commander, showed the audience how to exercise the arms by standing upside down and using the paddle of a space bicycle.

When asked about whether they can see Hong Kong during EVAs, astronaut Liu Boming said he could see the flashing lights of Victoria Harbour and the night view of Hong Kong.

On Sept. 6, they also sent a congratulatory video clip to the students who attended the opening ceremony of the China Space Station Science and Innovation Experience Base at the China Science and Technology Museum. They invited them to provide ideas and projects for the station, such as designing a future space station, studying the shape of space potatoes, or turning hometown delicacies into space food.


The frequent exposure of China's astronauts at the space station has attracted more and more attention from the general public, who are interested in their work and lives in space. They have gained the public's recognition and support.

On China's social media platforms, like Weibo and Bilibili, pictures and videos about Chinese astronauts' space lives are popular, such as Nie Haisheng playing shadow boxing, Liu Boming writing Chinese calligraphy, and Tang Hongbo taking pictures of the moon with his mobile phone from the cabin window.

The audience finds that these brave space heroes are fascinating people in their daily work and lives.

On Bilibili, a video clip of Tang Hongbo eating an apple while working has been played over 860,000 times with more than 1,800 comments. One comment with nearly 8,900 likes says, "that's one small bite for man, one giant bite for mankind."

Another video showing Tang spinning a pen in Shenzhou-12 has been played nearly 1.6 million times. From these details, the audience sees that an astronaut is just as curious as ordinary people about the zero-gravity phenomenon in space.

Besides reading, watching, and sharing, some people have started introducing China's efforts in space exploration themselves.

The "Planetary Research Institute," an account both active on Weibo and Bilibili, issued a nine-minute video that tells the development history of China's space station. It has been played more than 1.3 million times.

"After all, the earth is just the cradle of human beings. We can't stay in the cradle forever -- the stars are our destination," says a comment after the video. Enditem

Quelle: Xinhua


Update: 16.10.2021


Profile: Ye Guangfu, a new face in China's space mission

Ye Guangfu, a new face in China's Shenzhou-13 mission, will live and work in the country's space station, which is still under construction, with two other seasoned astronauts Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping for six months.

Ye, born in 1980 in southwest China's Sichuan Province, was once an air force pilot, amassing 1,100 hours of flight time.

Ye was selected to join the second batch of Chinese astronauts in 2010 and made his first public appearance after completing an underground training mission deep in an Italian cave in 2016.

Ye and five other astronauts from the United States, Russia, Spain and Japan spent six days in Sardinian caves during the European Space Agency (ESA) underground training course CAVES (Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behavior and performance Skills).

The mission focused on multi-cultural approaches to leadership, teamwork and decision-making in space-like environments, according to the ESA.

"The narrow cave is isolated from the outside world and is dark, damp and cold. We six were responsible for completing daily tasks such as climbing, exploration and surveying -- really arduous but worthwhile training," Ye told the media in Beijing in 2016.

Ye's major duties included exploring and mapping the uncharted areas, making accurate 3D models of objects and conducting real-time monitoring of environmental data.

"We had some communication problems due to our different cultures and languages, and it would be very dangerous for a team without cohesion and integration to perform tasks in such an extreme environment," Ye said.

Ye, head of the survey team, recalled that during a mission exploring rock piles, a teammate climbed to the edge of the cavern, and Ye noticed some pieces of rocks were falling. He was worried and advised his teammate to return. The teammate, however, was unaware of the risks and continued to move upward.

Ye immediately and resolutely ordered him to withdraw to a safe position. In the process of his withdrawal, the rocks began to slide and a landslide occurred lasting more than a minute, stunning the entire crew.

Ye, the first Chinese astronaut to participate in the multinational training, gained praise from teammates for his observation and decisiveness during the mission.

"The most important lesson for me is that self-confidence and mutual trust are the best way to deal with various dangers," Ye noted.

Ye's performance in the training also won considerable recognition from the ESA and he was given the honor of naming a newly discovered cave branch.

Ye named it the "Guang Ming (meaning light) Gallery."

"In the dark cave, Guang Ming means hope," he said.

"Exploring the space and building a space home are the common mission and pursuit of all astronauts. I am looking forward to meeting with my international counterparts in space and wish they can pay a visit to China's space station as a guest," said Ye at a press conference ahead of the Shenzhou-13 mission on Thursday. Enditem


Profile: Wang Yaping, first woman taikonaut to enter China's space station

Frequent goodbyes to her family come hand-in-hand with Wang Yaping's intensive training. This time, however, her goodbye will spark joy in her 5-year-old daughter's eyes as she is "shooting for the stars."

Wang is slated to take part in the Shenzhou-13 crewed mission, with the spaceship to be launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Oct. 16. She will become the first woman to enter China's space station core module Tianhe.

While Wang's six-month trip to space will be the longest absence from her daughter, she and two other astronauts, Zhai Zhigang and Ye Guangfu, of the Shenzhou-13 space mission will make the longest ever stay in space by Chinese astronauts.

The last time Wang was in space was eight years ago, three years before the birth of her daughter.

The female Chinese taikonaut captured headlines all over the world by an image of her being reflected in a drop of water floating in the Tiangong-1 space lab.

Known for broadcasting a 40-minute live lesson that included demonstrating the behavior of liquids in zero gravity during her first space trip, she is very likely to draw global attention again during her second space mission.

More tasks await her to complete: a spacewalk and the second class in orbit, the China Manned Space Agency told media on Thursday ahead of the launch.

Wang was born in 1980 to a rural family in Shandong Province. She loved jogging and was a high-scoring forward on the basketball court in school.

"When I was young, my world was small," Wang recalled. "My dream was much more simple: to go beyond the village and to pay back all that my parents had given me."

Her space dream started in 2003 when China sent its first taikonaut Yang Liwei into space.

"I watched the bright rocket flame on TV, and an idea flashed through my mind: China now has a male taikonaut, when will there be a female one?" Wang said. At that time, she was already a transport aircraft pilot with two years of experience in the People's Liberation Army Air Force.

After racking up safe flights for 1,600 hours over nine years, Wang was selected into the second batch of Chinese taikonauts in 2010 and became a strong candidate for China's first flight by a female taikonaut.

However, she did not pass her final tests and Liu Yang was named the "first female" taikonaut.

Wang did not lose heart but pushed forward even harder. The backup taikonaut always ran three laps more than others in physical courses; she volunteered to be held to the same standards as her male counterparts during desert survival training, and she asked to train in the pressure chamber for an extra 30 minutes each time.

"You can't catch a break simply for being a woman," Wang said.

Taikonaut Nie Haisheng told the media during an interview, "We always want to take care of the girl, but it seems she doesn't need any help."

Her efforts were not in vain. Wang became a crew member of the Shenzhou-10 space mission in 2013. And more notably, she earned the title of China's first space teacher after giving a telecast lecture to students from an orbit more than 300 km above the Earth's surface.

Before the lecture, NASA's first educator in space Barbara Morgan wrote a letter to Wang to express greetings and wishes to her Chinese counterpart. The lesson was successful, with an audience of more than 60 million students.

Liu Cixin, China's famous sci-fi writer and Hugo Award winner, described Wang's lesson as a "brush," which painted a space world for children that is different from Earth.

Wang's ponytail, smiling face and soft-spoken voice attracted millions of hits on social media, where she has been known as a "space heroine."

Besides various accolades she has been given, Wang has also taken on more responsibilities. She was a deputy to the 13th National People's Congress, China's top legislature, and served as the vice chairperson of the 12th All-China Youth Federation. In 2020, Wang was re-elected as the vice chairperson of the 13th All-China Youth Federation.

She has obtained a mass communication master's degree at Peking University, and has also been a regular lecturer, giving science lectures to schools. Enditem


Profile: First Chinese spacewalker ready for second space mission

China is all set to launch Shenzhou-13 manned spaceship on Saturday, with the country's first spacewalker Zhai Zhigang as one of the three crew members.

Struggling to open the door, waving to the camera, holding up the national flag, handing the test sample to his colleague and hobbling back to the module...the images from September 2008 are still fresh when Zhai completed China's first spacewalk during the Shenzhou-7 mission.

His 20-minute stay in outer space was broadcast live as millions of Chinese on Earth witnessed the momentous occasion.

It took Zhai 10 years of effort to accomplish the 20-minute spacewalk since he became an astronaut. Born in 1966, Zhai joined the People's Liberation Army Air Force in 1985 and clocked over 1,000 hours of safe flight. He became a member of the first batch of Chinese astronauts in 1998.

Born in a farmer's family in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Zhai is the youngest of six children. He is accustomed to facing challenges and is perseverant since childhood.

After becoming an astronaut, he learned basic theories of aerospace medicine, geography and meteorology, advanced mathematics, and automatic control, and completed nearly 100 training subjects in just five years to qualify for space missions.

Zhai entered the final candidate list both in Shenzhou-5 mission in 2003 and Shenzhou-6 mission in 2005, and became one of the three Shenzhou-7 crew members.

Unlike the first two missions, Zhai's first space mission came with the first extravehicular activity (EVA) for Chinese astronauts. The astronaut training center has installed three new ground training equipment, including a water tank that simulates a weightless environment, a low-pressure cabin and an EVA program simulator.

Zhai and his colleagues conducted simulating weightlessness training under 10 meters of water in training suits weighing more than 160 kg, three to four hours each time.

"Every time I floated to the surface after training, I was so exhausted," he recalled. "My training suit was full of sweat, and I found it difficult to hold chopsticks while eating."

But the real challenge came when Zhai was launched into space. Under Liu Boming's assistance, Zhai opened the hatch of the spaceship's orbital module, while Jing Haipeng monitored the spaceship inside the re-entry module.

When Zhai was stepping out, a fire alarm rang out in the orbital module. After a thorough check of the spaceship, the astronauts found no trace of fire on board. They decided to carry on the EVA anyway.

After Zhai exited the spaceship, Liu handed China's national flag to Zhai. The historic moment of Zhai waving the national flag and saying hello to the people of China and the world became the highlight of the mission.

It was later found to be a false fire alarm, caused by a sensor error. But at that critical moment, Zhai and his teammates were ready to risk their lives.

"I had eye contact with Liu, and we made up our mind that even if we couldn't go back (to Earth), we must ensure that the five-star red flag flies in space," Zhai said.

Huang Weifen, chief designer of the astronaut system in China's manned space program, said, "Zhai is mentally strong and good at handling emergencies."

"I was afraid of death, too. But when I opened the hatch of the orbital module, all I had in mind was the mission," Zhai said in a conversation with Hong Kong primary and secondary school students when he visited the city with a Shenzhou-7 mission delegation in December 2008.

Thirteen years after his first spacewalk, the 55-year-old veteran will return to space.

"I had prepared for ten years to carry out the Shenzhou-7 mission, and it has been another 13 years since then. My love for flying, my love for my profession, and my love for the aerospace industry of my motherland have been inspiring me," he said when meeting the press Thursday at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. Enditem


China welcomes foreign astronauts to space station flights

Astronauts from foreign countries will be able to participate in joint flights on board China's space station, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced on Thursday.

China welcomes foreign astronauts to its space station to carry out international cooperation, Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA, told a press conference ahead of the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft launch, which is scheduled for 12:23 a.m. (Beijing Time) on Oct. 16 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The Shenzhou-13 spacecraft will take three astronauts -- Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu -- into space for the construction of China's space station.

"The construction of China's space station will provide a better platform for wider international cooperation, including joint astronaut flights," Lin said.

He said the cooperation on astronaut selection and training has already taken place between China and foreign countries.

Chinese astronauts once went to Russia for training. Ye Guangfu completed an underground training course organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2016, Lin said.

European astronauts also participated in a sea-survival training program in China in 2017, he added.

International space cooperation is an important part of building a community with a shared future for humanity.

In its manned space exploration, China has cooperated with countries including Russia, Germany, France, Italy and Pakistan, and with organizations such as the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and the ESA.

"It is a common cause for mankind that needs full global cooperation, and China has always been committed to the peaceful use of space, and equality and mutual development in space exploration," Lin said. Enditem


China discloses tasks of Shenzhou-13 crewed space mission

The upcoming Shenzhou-13 crewed space mission will include two or three extravehicular activities, installation of important devices for mechanical arms as well as various sci-tech experiments and applications, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) on Thursday.

One of the main objectives of the mission is to test key technologies for assembly and construction of China's space station, such as module transfer supported by the robotic arm and manual remote operation, said Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA, at a press conference held at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

The astronauts will perform two or three extravehicular activities during the mission to install the dual-arm connector, the device to link the big and small mechanical arms, as well as suspension device, Lin said.

The mission will further verify the health, living and working support technologies for astronauts' six-month stay in orbit, he said.

The astronauts will also carry out sci-tech experiments and applications in fields such as space medicine and micro-gravity physics, as well as diversified public science education activities, he said.

The mission will achieve a comprehensive assessment of the functional performance of various project systems for carrying out space station tasks and the compatibility between systems, he added.

After entering orbit, the spaceship will conduct fast automated rendezvous and docking with the radial port of the in-orbit core space station module Tianhe, forming a complex with the core module and the cargo craft Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3.

The astronauts aboard Shenzhou-13 will be stationed in the core module, working and living according to the same timetable as on Earth, Lin said. After six months, they will return to the Dongfeng landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, landing in the return capsule.

Lin said that after the Shenzhou-13 mission and a comprehensive evaluation of the whole system, the CMSA will carry out another six missions to complete the construction of the space station.

It will first launch the Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft and then the Shenzhou-14 crewed spaceship, with Tianzhou-4 to deliver supplies for the Shenzhou-14 crew.

During the Shenzhou-14 crew's stay in orbit, the Wentian and the Mengtian lab modules will be launched to dock with the Tianhe core module. The construction of the three-module combination will be completed before the end of 2022.

The Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft and the Shenzhou-15 spaceship will then be launched to begin the in-orbit rotation of the crew in the space station.

Lin added that after the six missions, the China Space Station Telescope will be launched into the same orbit as the space station and carry out a sky survey mission independently. The telescope will make short dockings at the space station for replenishment and maintenance.

The Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship will be launched at 12:23 a.m. Saturday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. Enditem

Quelle: Xinhua


Update: 17.10.2021


Shenzhou-13 astronauts enter space station core module


Screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 16, 2021 shows three Chinese astronauts, Zhai Zhigang (C), Wang Yaping (R) and Ye Guangfu, waving after entering the space station core module Tianhe. (Xinhua/Tian Dingyu)

The three Chinese astronauts onboard the Shenzhou-13 spaceship entered the country's space station core module Tianhe on Saturday, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

After Shenzhou-13 successfully completed a fast automated rendezvous and docking with the space station complex, which is composed of the core module Tianhe and the cargo crafts Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3, the Shenzhou-13 crew entered the orbital capsule from the return capsule of the spaceship.

After a series of preparations, Zhai Zhigang opened the hatch of the Tianhe core module. At 9:58 a.m. (Beijing Time), Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu entered the core module one by one.

The trio is the second batch of crew in China's space station. Wang Yaping is the first female astronaut onboard the station.

They will carry out relevant work as planned, the CMSA said. Enditem

Quelle: Xinhua


China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship docks with space station module


Screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 16, 2021 shows China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship docking with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe. China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship successfully docked with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe on Saturday, according to the China Manned Space Agency. (Xinhua/Tian Dingyu)

China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship successfully docked with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe on Saturday, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

The spaceship, launched on early Saturday morning, completed orbital status setting after entering the orbit and conducted a fast automated rendezvous and docking with Tianhe at 6:56 a.m. (Beijing Time), forming a complex together with the cargo crafts Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3.

The whole process took approximately 6.5 hours, the CMSA said.

The spaceship, atop a Long March-2F carrier rocket, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gobi Desert at 12:23 a.m..

Three astronauts aboard Shenzhou-13 -- Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu -- will then enter the Tianhe module, according to the mission plan.

This is Tianhe's second rendezvous and docking with a Shenzhou spaceship since it was sent into orbit on April 29. The Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship docked with Tianhe on June 17. Enditem


Screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 16, 2021 shows China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship having successfully docked with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe. China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship successfully docked with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe on Saturday, according to the China Manned Space Agency. (Xinhua/Tian Dingyu)


Screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 16, 2021 shows China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship docking with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe. China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship successfully docked with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe on Saturday, according to the China Manned Space Agency. (Xinhua/Tian Dingyu)

Quelle: Xinhua


Update: 19.10.2021


China's longest-yet crewed space mission impressive, expert says


Screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Oct. 16, 2021 shows China's Shenzhou-13 crewed spaceship having successfully docked with the radial port of the space station core module Tianhe. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's Shenzhou XIII crewed spaceship successfully docked with the port of the space station core module Tianhe on Saturday, a move overseas experts have called another "key step" forward in China's space exploration.

Three Chinese astronauts aboard the Shenzhou XIII will stay in orbit for six months, making China's longest yet crewed mission for space station construction.

Denis Simon, executive director of the Center for Innovation Policy at Duke Law, told Xinhua that China's success in space continues to be impressive.

"It is now well on its way to being a leader in space exploration," he said.

With the current mission, China has taken another key step toward building a Chinese space station, he said.

Akihiro Fujiwara, a satellite engineer at Japan's Mitsubishi Electric extended his best wishes for the launch.

"I always take my hat off to this amazing driving force," Fujiwara said. "I pray for the safe launches and safe returns of the mission."

The crew includes two veterans of space travel-Zhai Zhigang, 55, and Wang Yaping, who is scheduled to become China's first female space-walker. The third member, Ye Guangfu, 41, is making his first trip to space.

Many sent the Chinese astronauts their blessings.

Matthias Maurer, a German astronaut with the European Space Agency and a material scientist, messaged in a tweet on Friday that he was "very excited for my dear friend Ye Guangfu finally going to space".

Maurer said that Ye was the first Chinese astronaut in an ESA astronaut exploration training program in extreme and planetary analogue environments.

"Godspeed to all three of you!-I'll join you soon in space," Maurer wrote.

Retired NASA astronaut Cady Coleman sent encouraging words to Wang, CGTN reported.

"When you look out the window, billions of women are looking out that window with you, including me," she said.

Pui Jeng Leong, a media veteran in Brunei, told Xinhua that the successive successful launches of Shenzhou XII and XIII within a four-month period symbolized that China's aerospace industry has entered a new age with Chinese astronauts' long-term stay in a space station, which once again demonstrates that China's aerospace technology has reached a leading level.

This mission will continue to testify to the key technologies of space station building and lay a solid foundation for more launches of crewed spaceships and other space activities, he said.

"China's capabilities in space launch and exploration promise to grow in the future," US expert Simon noted, saying that "this could be an area for fertile cooperation".

Quelle: China Daily


Update: 7.11.2021


Shenzhou XIII crew ready for first spacewalk


The Shenzhou XIII mission crew will soon carry out their first extravehicular activity, or spacewalk, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

The agency said in a news release on Friday the three-member crew - Major General Zhai Zhigang, Senior Colonel Wang Yaping and Senior Colonel Ye Guangfu - are in good condition and ready for the operation.

The astronauts had been inside the Tiangong space station for 21 days as of Friday afternoon. They have moved living and work materials from the Tianzhou 2 and 3 cargo spaceships to the station's core module, named Tianhe, or Harmony of Heaven, tested their extravehicular suits, and conducted training on emergency evacuation, robotic arm control and medical aid, the agency said.

The Shenzhou XIII mission crew was launched by a Long March 2F carrier rocket at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China's Gobi Desert and soon entered the Tianhe module, which is the first, and central, section of Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace. They are scheduled to undertake a six-month journey inside the station, fulfilling the nation's longest space mission.

The Shenzhou XIII crew is tasked with a wide range of assignments, such as performing two to three spacewalks to install a small robotic arm onto a larger one; verifying key procedures and technologies like manual control of the robotic arms and robotic arm-assisted movement of station modules; checking the performance and capability of devices inside the station and testing support instruments for astronauts' life and work in long-term flights, according to Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Agency.

Their peers in the Shenzhou XII mission, which lasted three months and concluded in mid-September, performed two spacewalks.

The mother of a 5-year-old girl, Wang is China's second female astronaut to take part in a spaceflight - she took part in the Shenzhou X mission in June 2013. In the Shenzhou XIII flight, she will become the first Chinese woman to enter a space station and also the first to carry out a spacewalk.

Quelle: SD


China's Shenzhou-13 taikonauts conducting extravehicular activities

China's Shenzhou-13 taikonauts Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping, donning China-developed Feitian spacesuits, are conducting extravehicular activities (EVAs), the China Manned Space Agency said on Sunday evening.

Ye Guangfu stayed inside to support his crewmates to complete the operations.

The EVAs are underway and expected to last for six hours, according to the agency. Enditem

Quelle: Xinhua


Einige Fotos vom ersten Weltraumspaziergang von Shenzhou13-Astronauten in der Raumstation Tiangong (CSS).





Quelle: CCTV



Quelle: YouTube

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