Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

China’s Shenzhou-14 crew continues to set up the newly lofted Wentian lab module, a key element of the country’s in-construction space station.

Commander Chen Dong and co-astronauts Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe are assembling the regenerative life support system and preparing for extravehicular activities.

Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

The taikonaut trio on Friday spent five and a half hours to sort out materials and supplies and tested the batteries of the extra-vehicular activity suits, reports China Central Television (CCTV). In the next three days, they will mainly work on the setting and test of the environmental control and regenerative life support system of the Wentian lab module.

Tests and adjustments

“The regenerative life support system is very complicated. It involves extensive plumbing operations, so there will be a lot of work to do. This week, they will do tests and adjustments in addition to installing the instruments,” said Wang Chunhui, deputy chief designer of the astronaut system of the China Astronaut Research and Training Center.

Credit: GLOBALink/Inside Outer Space screengrab

The Shenzhou-14 crew will carry out extravehicular activities from Wentian’s airlock module. In preparation for the mission, the astronauts recently conducted in-orbit tests of the functions of the small mechanical arm outside Wentian with the support of the ground team, CCTV notes.

Mechanical arm test

Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

“We’ve tested the overall function of the small mechanical arm of the Wentian lab module, including crawling on the Wentian lab module and inspecting the loading platform,” said Shang Shuai, chief designer of the space station flight and control team with the China Academy of Space Technology.

“The five-day test shows that the small robotic arm is functioning normally, which meets our anticipation,” Shang told CCTV.

The Wentian lab module was launched on July 24 and docked with the space station code module Tianhe on July 25.

Go to this newly issued video showing current work activities by the Shenzhou-14 crew:

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