24/7 Space News
DRAGON SPACE
Astronauts meet in Tiangong space station core module
The Shenzhou XV and Shenzhou XVI crews pose in the Tianhe core module of the Tiangong space station on Tuesday, marking the start of the in-orbit crew handover, in this screen grab from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
ADVERTISEMENT
Astronauts meet in Tiangong space station core module
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) May 31, 2023

The Shenzhou XVI mission crew, which includes the first Chinese civilian astronaut, reached orbit on Tuesday and started work in the Tiangong space station.

Aboard the Shenzhou XVI spacecraft, mission commander Major General Jing Haipeng, spaceflight engineer Colonel Zhu Yangzhu and Professor Gui Haichao, the mission's science payload specialist and the first Chinese civilian in space, were launched by a 20-story-tall Long March 2F carrier rocket, which blasted off at 9:31 am from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China's Gobi Desert.

After a short flight, the 8-metric-ton spaceship was placed into a low-Earth orbit about 400 kilometers above the planet and then activated the rapid rendezvous-docking mode to approach the Tiangong station.

On Tuesday afternoon, the spacecraft connected with the radial port on Tiangong's Tianhe core module.

After about two hours of preparatory work following the docking, Jing opened a hatch on the Shenzhou XVI spaceship and floated into Tianhe's connection cabin at 6:19 pm.

He was welcomed by Major General Fei Junlong, leader of the Shenzhou XV crew, who had been waiting inside the cabin.

"Let's hug! I am so happy!" Fei said as he embraced Jing.

Following Jing, Zhu and Gui moved into the connection cabin one by one, and they were also greeted and hugged by Fei.

The Shenzhou XVI trio then moved into the Tianhe module and hugged the other Shenzhou XV crew members - Senior Colonel Deng Qingming and Senior Colonel Zhang Lu - who were waiting there and recording the emotional moment on a smartphone.

The two crews chatted for a while before taking a group selfie to applause from the ground control staff.

The entire procedure was broadcast live on China Central Television.

The two teams are scheduled to stay together for about five days, and the Shenzhou XVI crew will then take over the massive orbital outpost from Fei's team, who have been in orbit for six months and will return to Earth as scheduled.

Jing and his crew members will stay in Tiangong for around five months and are scheduled to return to Earth in November. They will carry out several spacewalks during the mission to mount equipment outside the station and also conduct maintenance work, Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the China Manned Space Agency, said at a news conference on Monday.

Other major tasks will include assisting with the docking and departure of visiting spacecraft such as cargo ships and a space-based telescope, conducting scientific experiments and demonstrations of technology, and hosting science lectures, Lin said.

The official said he expects that new scientific data in a wide range of research fields such as general relativity and the origins of life will be obtained during the Shenzhou XVI mission.

The journey is the debut flight of China's third generation of astronauts, and the first time a Chinese civilian has traveled into space.

Jing and Zhu are members of the People's Liberation Army's Astronaut Division, while Gui is a doctoral supervisor at the Department of Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Technology of Beihang University's School of Astronautics in Beijing.

Lin said that after stringent training, all of the third-generation astronauts have passed qualification tests and have been cleared for space missions.

Moreover, the Shenzhou XVI mission is Jing's fourth spaceflight, making him China's most experienced astronaut.

According to Lin, China now has all prerequisites for sending foreign astronauts into space - a well-constructed space station, a reliable astronaut transportation system, and mature methods for astronauts' training and support.

"We are actively working on this matter. I very much welcome and look forward to foreign astronauts flying on board our space station," he said.

One of the world's largest and most advanced spacecraft, Tiangong currently consists of three major components, the Tianhe core module and the Wentian and Mengtian science lab modules, and it is connected to three visiting vessels, the Shenzhou XV and Shenzhou XVI crew craft and the Tianzhou 6 cargo ship.

Source: Xinhua News Agency

Related Links
China Manned Space Agency
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
DRAGON SPACE
China's 'space dream': A Long March to the Moon and beyond
Beijing (AFP) May 30, 2023
China successfully launched the latest mission to its Tiangong space station on Tuesday, with a crew that includes its first civilian astronaut. It marked the latest space milestone for China, as it looks to catch up with the United States and Russia. Here is a look at the Chinese space programme, and where it is headed: - Mao's vow - Soon after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957, Chinese leader Mao Zedong pronounced: "We too will make satellites." It took more than a decade, ... read more

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
DRAGON SPACE
ASPINA Launches Space Team

Space Hero and Partners Launch Innovative Space Village, Boosting Space Tourism

Virgin Galactic resumes spaceflights after two year pause

Solar Foods one of the Phase II winners of NASA Deep Space Food Challenge

DRAGON SPACE
Tesla's Musk hails China's 'vitality' during Beijing visit

Chinese fans welcome 'Comrade Musk'

Designing a next generation hypersonic demonstrator

Space Flight Laboratory selects Rocket Lab to launch Telesat Broadband Satellite

DRAGON SPACE
Ingenuity's high-stakes game of hide and seek

Meet the scientist (sort of) spending a year on Mars

Hitting the road after three weeks at Ubajara: Sols 3839-3840

MAHLI works the night shift: Sols 3837-3838

DRAGON SPACE
Astronauts meet in Tiangong space station core module

China launches Shenzhou-16 with first civilian to space station

China launches Shenzhou-16 with first civilian to space station

China's 'space dream': A Long March to the Moon and beyond

DRAGON SPACE
A Saudi Arabian satellite launches on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket

Terran Orbital Announces $37.1 Million Registered Direct Offering

Iridium adds to constellation resilience with launch of spare satellites

NASA funds small business to advance tech for Space, Earth

DRAGON SPACE
Meta unveils new VR headset as Apple eyes market

Nvidia, the world's newest, AI-amped tech giant

UN aims to deliver draft plastics treaty by year's end

Countries tussle at 'rocky' global plastic talks

DRAGON SPACE
Chemistry: Meteoritic and volcanic particles may have promoted origin of life reactions

Quest for alien signals in the heart of the Milky Way takes off

The search for habitable planets expands

Astronomers discover a key planetary system to understand the formation mechanism of the mysterious 'super-Earths'

DRAGON SPACE
Juice deployments complete: final form for Jupiter

First observation of a Polar Cyclone on Uranus

Research 'solves' mystery of Jupiter's stunning colour changes

NASA's Juno mission closing in on Io

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.