Beijing, June 24, 2021 / CNW/ — Three Chinese astronauts, who have been in the main unit of the Chinese space station since June 17, had their first long-distance telephone conversation with Earth on Wednesday.
Nie Haisheng, 56, Liu Beoming, 54, and Tang Hongbo, 45, are now stationed in the main unit in Tianhe, about 380 kilometers above Earth. It is China’s longest manned space mission to date, and the first since 2016.
Chinese President Xi Jinping conveyed his greetings to the three astronauts via video link on Wednesday, congratulating them on their safe arrival to the station and thanking them for their work.
“How’s life going there?” Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, asked the three, whose feet were temporarily tied to the unit’s floor during the conversation due to the lack of gravity in space, also concerned about their health, life and work.
Thank you for your interest, Secretary-General! Mission leader Ni Haisheng said, “We are in excellent physical condition and our space work is going well.
Xi Jinping praised China’s space mission
“The construction of a space station is an important step for China’s spaceflight cause,” Xi Jinping said during the broadcast discussion.
“It will open new horizons for the peaceful use of space by mankind. You are the representatives of countless fighters in the new era of spaceflight in China.
So far, the longest stay in space for Chinese astronauts has been 33 days.
“In previous missions, we’ve sent water and oxygen into space with the astronauts. But for three to six months, the water and oxygen will fill the convoy without leaving room for other necessary goods and materials. So we’ve installed a new life support system for urine recycling, an expiration condenser (EBC) and a second carbon dioxide in the main unit,” said Bai Linhuo, deputy chief designer of the space station in China. The Academy of Space Technology (CAST) in Xinhua in an interview conducted earlier.
The main unit at Tianhe, where the three astronauts are currently stationed, has a length of 16.6 meters, a maximum diameter of 4.2 meters and a maximum take-off weight of 22.5 tons. It is the largest spacecraft developed and launched by China.
It aims to help Chinese aerospace engineers carry out verification of key technologies, including flexible solar wings, in-orbit assembly and maintenance, and most importantly, the new life support system.
With five launch missions completed this year, China plans six more in 2022, including the launch of the Wentian and Mengtien laboratory modules, two cargo spacecraft and two manned spacecraft, to complete the construction of the spatial station.
Chinese officials say the new space station will not only be intended for the Chinese, but also open to the world.
“We welcome foreign astronauts and global cooperation in scientific experiments to visit the Chinese space station,” said Hao Chun, director of China’s Manned Space Engineering Office, in an exclusive interview with CGTN.
Chinese astronauts talk to Earth from space
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