Space log: Shenzhou-14 crew in China Space Station enters cargo ships for supplies
The three Shenzhou-14 astronauts, who arrived at the China Space Station on June 5, entered the two cargo spaceships on Monday for supplies, according to the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO).
The crew entered Tianzhou-4 at 12:19 p.m. (Beijing Time) and Tianzhou-3 later in the afternoon, so as to transfer and sort out the cargo during their first working day in the space station.
The Shenzhou-14 spaceship was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China. The crew entered the core module Tianhe after the spaceship successfully docked with the space station.
They will stay in orbit for six months and complete the assembly and construction of the space station.
The astronauts need to fetch living necessities from the cargo craft, said Liu Weibo, deputy chief designer of the astronaut system of China's manned space project. "They need to transfer things such as food, water, air filters and set them up in the core module."
Setting up all the equipment and moving around the supplies will be the astronauts' main tasks during the first week of their stay.
They will activate the core module into a working mode, which can provide the astronauts the right environment for living and working, Liu said.
"The ground team will offer support whenever the astronauts need," he noted.
There will be a series of health checks for the astronauts, as they just arrived at the space station. "We will confirm they can adapt themselves to the environment in space," Liu said.
Tianzhou-4, which holds supplies for the Shenzhou-14 crewed mission, docked with the combination of Tianhe core module and Tianzhou-3 cargo vessel in May.
With a length of 10.6 meters and a maximum diameter of 3.35 meters, the Tianzhou-4 cargo ship carried about 6 tonnes of goods and 750 kg of propellant for the space station complex.
Like previous cargo flights, the Tianzhou-4 mainly carried three categories of supplies, including living necessities for the Shenzhou-14 astronauts' six-month stay, spare parts for space station's maintenance, and space research equipment.
Colored tags were put on parcels with different goods, so that the astronauts can quickly identify and find the goods they need.