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China discloses tasks of Shenzhou XVI manned space mission

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-05-29 13:55
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JIUQUAN -- The Shenzhou XVI astronauts will conduct large-scale in-orbit tests and experiments in various fields as planned, announced a senior official from the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) at a press conference on Monday.

They are expected to make high-level scientific achievements in the study of novel quantum phenomena, high-precision space time-frequency systems, the verification of general relativity, and the origin of life, said Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA.

The Shenzhou XVI mission will also install electric propulsion cylinders and lift extravehicular cameras, Lin said.

In addition, this mission will complete the installation of large extravehicular application facilities such as radiation biological exposure experiment equipment, he said.

The Shenzhou XVI crew, consisting of Jing Haipeng, Zhu Yangzhu and Gui Haichao, will witness the dockings of the Tianzhou-5 cargo craft and the Shenzhou XVII crewed spaceship, as well as the departures of the Shenzhou XV manned spaceship and Tianzhou-5, he said.

They will give space lectures during their mission.

China's space station has entered the stage of application and development. Work handovers of different groups of astronauts and cargo supply missions will be implemented regularly in following missions.

According to Lin, the in-orbit work of astronauts mainly covers six categories.

The first is to operate the dockings and returns of crewed spaceships and assist the dockings and departures of cargo craft and survey telescopes, ensuring the regular personnel rotation and material supply.

The second is the maintenance of the space station complex, including the spacecraft status setting, in-orbit material management, platform equipment maintenance and inspection, equipment installation inside and outside the modules, and payload entry into and exit from the modules.

The third is health management of astronauts, including health status monitoring and in-orbit exercise and training.

The fourth is to conduct large-scale in-orbit scientific research and applications.

The fifth is the popularization of science, such as giving space lectures and shooting videos for public service.

The sixth is to handle emergent in-orbit failures, fix and replace faulty equipment, and conduct extravehicular maintenance when necessary, so as to ensure long-term stable operation of the space station.

Lin said large-scale space science and technology experiments will be carried out in the following flight missions, including almost 1,000 scientific research and application projects in four fields, namely space life science and human body research, microgravity physics science, space astronomy and Earth science, and new space technology and application.

The CMSA will release the solicitation details and guidelines for scientific and application projects for the application and the development stage of the country's space station to achieve full operation of the space station application resources and higher-quality application outcomes.

China will develop a new generation reusable near-Earth manned carrier rocket and near-Earth manned spaceship, Lin said.

The country will launch an extension module at an appropriate time and expand the basic configuration of the space station from the current T shape to a cross shape to further support the in-orbit scientific experiments and create better working and living conditions for astronauts.

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