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Tasks to be finished before leaving Tiangong II

China Daily | Updated: 2016-11-18 08:01

Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong are close to completing a 33-day space journey, and on Tuesday, they talked with Xinhua News Agency.

You will say goodbye to space and come back to Earth in a few days. Could you describe your feelings?

Jing Haipeng: Our leaders, colleagues and comrades-in-arms on Earth have been supporting us. They work around the clock, cheer us on and provide us with support. There are still two more days to go, and we will be more meticulous and strict in every detail to ensure the safety of the payload.

Chen Dong: I feel reluctant because soon we will be leaving Tiangong II, where we have lived and worked for 30 days. It is like our home in space, so I have a sense of reluctance and attachment. I feel happy and excited because we are getting back to our "big family" soon, back to Earth, and back to our motherland.

Tasks to be finished before leaving Tiangong II

What work do you still need to do?

Jing: All work is progressing on schedule. There is also some preparatory work to be done, including recovering experimental data, cleaning up the compartment and leaving Tiangong II in the right condition.

Most of the experiments have been completed and some data transmitted back to Earth. The rest is saved on memory cards to be taken back to Earth due to the large amount of data. Vegetables grown in space and the silkworm cocoons will also be brought back.Urine and saliva samples as well as microorganisms samples will also be brought back for analysis.

Chen:When we entered Tiangong II,we brought many things in, including our necessities and experimental items, of all sizes. Now we are moving back to Earth and need to put some items back where they belong.

Packing in space is strenuous. There are clear requirements on how an item should be packed, including what a packed item should look like, where it should be placed, and even whether an item should be wrapped horizontally or slantwise.

Jing: We need to sweep Tiangong II. Residual food waste, sanitary waste, and some trash created during in-orbit experiments, including batteries and electrodes, will be packed and placed in the orbital compartment. The trash will then crash into the atmosphere and be destroyed with the compartment.

Chen: Getting Tiangong II in the right condition before departure is similar to turning off the water and electricity before leaving a house for a long time. Tiangong II will be used over the long-term and dock with space cargo ships. We have to make sure that electricity,water, gas and communications are set up properly. In total there are between 40 and 50 tasks to be completed.

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