Space log: How has China's Shenzhou-14 crew set up their new home in space?
Cao Qingqing

Setting up a living environment is the first task for the Shenzhou-14 crew when they arrived at the space station, which had been left in an uninhabited state after the departure of the Shenzhou-13 crew in April.

China launched the Shenzhou-14 astronauts, or taikonauts, on June 5. The trio entered the core module Tianhe of China's space station on the same day, starting their six-month stay there.

The next day, the crew entered the Tianzhou-4 and Tianzhou-3 cargo ships, where they checked and transferred the living necessities, such as food, water and air filters, to the core module.

Read more: Space log: Shenzhou-14 crew in China Space Station enters cargo ships for supplies

Setting up a cozy home

The priority of the Shenzhou-14 crew is to activate the essential systems for human living, such as oxygen recycling, drinking water and the sleeping environment, according to Wang Saijin, deputy chief designer of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

The taikonauts have checked the functionality of the "appliances" in the kitchen, such as the microwave oven, water heater and garbage disposal equipment.


Exercising regularly is also essential for the taikonauts, who have tested the fitness equipment in their space gym, including a treadmill, a bicycle and a tensioner.

Read more: Space log: How do astronauts work out in space?

Space-Earth communication system

The taikonauts must also set up and debug the communication system between the space station and the ground to ensure smooth communication and file transmission.

They need to verify the functionalities of the various communication devices in the Tianhe core module, Shenzhou spaceship and Tianzhou cargo spacecraft, including the headsets, wireless headphones, mobile phones, tablet computers and desktop computers.

Read more: China Space Station: Hidden antennas behind the 'perfect transmission'

Microbiological sampling and testing

To ensure a safe environment in the space station, the taikonauts also need to conduct microbiological sampling and test the water, air, equipment surfaces and cargo in the space station.

There might be microorganisms that can threaten the taikonauts' health or affect the materials of the facilities and cause equipment failure. Therefore, regular sampling and testing of the whole environment is necessary. 

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