Indoor dome cameras

Chinese space travel astronauts add camera to Tiangong space station module

Chinese astronauts from Shenzhou 13 ventured outside the Tianhe orbiting module on Sunday and set up a new panoramic camera to monitor the space station.

Rookie astronaut Ye Guangfu opened the hatch to the Tianhe airlock on December 26 at 5:44 a.m. EST (10:44 a.m. GMT, 6:44 p.m. Beijing time) and said he felt good soon after his release. He was soon joined by mission commander Zhai Zhigang, while his teammate Wang Yaping assisted operations from inside the module by controlling the large robotic arm of the Tiangong Space Station. Working in coordination, the trio set up a panoramic camera.

“The camera was raised over 300 millimeters and was further away from the bulkhead after the elevator, so it could perform better observation with fewer blocked views,” said Zhang Wei, space station systems designer. at the Chinese Academy of Space Technology (CAST), told CCTV.

Related: Shenzhou 12 Chinese astronauts return stunning images of Earth (photos)

Chinese astronaut Ye Guangfu emerges from Tianhe’s hatch in a Feitian spacesuit on December 26, 2021. (Image credit: CMSA / BACC)

“The camera is mainly used to observe the operations on the surface of the spacecraft, as well as to observe the distance between the solar panels and the moving robotic arm,” noted Zhang.

Ye and Zhai were both back six hours and 11 minutes after opening the hatch for the first time. During the spacewalk, the couple also performed other equipment-related tasks.

“Thank you very much for your hard work. You left us some great pictures. All of the ground crew and astronaut center are proud of you,” said the astronaut ground support team.

China has now completed four extravehicular activities, or spacewalks, since the launch of the Tianhe module in April this year: two each during the Shenzhou 12 and Shenzhou 13 crewed missions.

The spacewalks tested the function and performance of the Tianhe Airlock, three “Feitian” space suits, the module’s robotic arm, and the daily coordination and support of astronaut activities from Earth.

Shenzhou 13 launched in October and the three crewmembers are expected to complete their six-month mission in March 2022. After that, China will step up a gear to complete construction of its three-module space station.

“After the return of Shenzhou 13, we will launch a [Tianzhou] cargo spaceship, the Shenzhou 14 crewed spacecraft, a lab module named “Wentian” and a lab module called “Mengtian”, “Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s human space flight program, told CCTV on Monday.

“They will complete the transposition and dock with the central module, to form a combination comprising three modules, marking the completion of the construction of the Chinese space station,” Zhou said. “This will be an important milestone in the development of our human space program and the Chinese space program, ushering in a new era of China’s human space program.”

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