Taikonauts in space station core module send congratulations for CPC’s centennial
Published: Jun 30, 2021 03:06 PM
Photo: screeenshot of weibo

Photo: screeenshot of weibo

Standing in front of a Chinese national flag and a flag of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the first crew of taikonauts stationed in China's space station's Tianhe core module sent their "heavenly blessings" on Tuesday for the upcoming centennial of the CPC, which falls on Thursday.

"Happy anniversary to the great Communist Party of China," Taikonaut Nie Haisheng and his fellow crew members - Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo - spoke to the camera onboard, footage released by state broadcaster China Central Television on Wednesday showed.

The footage also showed the crew working aboard the space station.

As the first batch of residents in China's own space station, the three taikonauts are projected to achieve main mission objectives including verification of key technologies for the construction and operation of the space station such as taikonauts' long-duration in-orbit stay, regenerative environment control and life support, and goods and materials resupplies.

Extravehicular activities and operations and in-orbit maintenance will also be highlight events for the crew's three-month stay, during which they will conduct for the first time a long-duration operation outside the cabin, with the support of robotic arms, according to the China Manned Space Agency.

There would be two high-stake spacewalk events during the mission period. Liu, who had participated in the country's first spacewalk together with taikonaut Zhai Zhigang during the Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008, is expected to play a crucial guiding role during the outside cabin operations.

Sun Jun, the mission chief of the space station project at the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center, said on June 23 that the first extravehicular activity, or spacewalk of the taikonauts, was expected to take place in some 10 days.

Observers predicted a long-duration operation outside the cabin which shall mark a "first" for the country, with the support of robotic arms, could take place as soon as on the weekend following the grand July 1 celebration.

Chinese netizens were excited to have heard from the taikonauts again after they conducted the first ground-space call last week. 

Some hailed the blessing literally "highest of all" as it comes from high above the sky, others sending out blessings for the taikonauts as well as wishing for their health, work, and life on the space station. 

As of press time, the topic has attracted nearly 75 million views and 3,500 discussions.