Shenzhou-13 crew conducts 1st in-orbit emergency evacuation drill
Published: Nov 07, 2021 11:37 AM
Photo: CCTV

Photo: CCTV

China's three Shenzhou-13 spacecraft taikonauts, currently in the core module Tianhe of China’s Tiangong Space Station, conducted their first in-orbit emergency evacuation drill after entering space for 23 days since October 16, said Chinese media on Sunday.

The exercise mainly simulated a situation where the three taikonauts are required to evacuate to the Shenzhen-13’s reentry module, in case the Tianhe core module has internal pressure loss after encountering a sudden impact, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Sunday.

The major purpose of the drill is to ensure that taikonauts can safely evacuate in case of the damage and loss of pressure in the core module. “In the whole design of the space station, the safety of taikonauts was put on the highest of our agenda,” Wang Chunhui, deputy chief designer of the taikonaut system, told CCTV.

The drill started with the station's pressure loss alarm. In-orbit taikonaut Zhai Zhigang made a judgement in a short time according to the instrument panel, and his coworker Ye Guangfu quickly opened the emergency cylinder to ensure the stability of the cabin pressure.

Crew members Ye and Wang Yaping closed hatch doors of Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3 cargo spacecrafts, and within a couple of minutes, all three taikonauts successfully evacuated to the Shenzhou-13’s reentry module.

The space station was designed with various kinds of would-be malfunctioning scenarios in mind, including sudden loss of cabin pressure and fire, said Wang Chunhui. “They were part of the whole fault-plan design.”

The three taikonauts will cooperate and carry out their first extravehicular activity in the coming days, China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced on Friday.

The crew is in good condition, and the space station is functioning well, ready for their first spacewalk, according to CMSA.

Wang Yaping, the first female taikonaut visiting the space station, is expected to be the first Chinese female taikonaut to do a spacewalk.

Global Times