CHINA Astronauts mark New Year with livestream from space


Astronauts mark New Year with livestream from space

China Daily

10:49, January 03, 2022

Three Chinese astronauts on the Tiangong space station interact with college students in Beijing via a livestream on New Year's Day. They also talked with students in the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. [Photo/XINHUA]

Crew answers questions from youth about living, working in orbit

From hosting a children's art gallery in space to answering questions about manned spaceflight, the three astronauts onboard China's Tiangong space station celebrated the New Year by cultivating science and inspiration in the country's youth.

On Saturday afternoon, astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu hosted a live video call and interacted with college students at venues in Beijing and the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions. They are the first Chinese astronauts to welcome the New Year in space.

On Oct 16, the Shenzhou XIII mission sent the three astronauts into the core module of the Tiangong space station called Tianhe, meaning "Harmony of the Heavens". Since then, they have conducted two spacewalks and are scheduled to spend six months working in the station, making it China's longest space mission.

During the livestream, the crew answered questions and shared their experiences living and working in space. Wang said it brings her great joy to teach children about space while she is spending time there, referring to the two live science lectures she gave in 2013 and last month.

"My family told me that many netizens compared photos of my two lectures and found that our 'space classroom' is now bigger, the content of the class is more varied and interesting, and the livestream is smoother and in higher definition," she said.

"These small changes reflect our nation's growing prosperity and capability and the rapid development of China's manned spaceflight program," she said. "As an astronaut, I am deeply honored to have been born in this great era, in this great country."

Wang said she is deeply moved by the fact that some of the young adults that tuned into her first lecture in 2013 are now working in China's manned spaceflight sector.

"I hope the Tiangong classes lead more teenagers to shoot for the stars and plant the seeds of passion for science, aspiration and exploring the unknown in their hearts," she said.

Answering a question on how astronauts handle emergencies in space, Ye said although they are far from home, they never feel alone because tens of thousands of dedicated staff are monitoring and helping them from the ground at all times.

"When we encounter an issue, our staff will send their guidance and assistance across the sky. These actions warm our hearts and give us strength," he said.

Even if crew members were to encounter an obstacle that they must tackle on their own, Ye said their strong knowledge and mental fortitude sharpened through rigorous training would prepare them for the challenge, and ultimately they would succeed.

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