Credit: GLOBALink/Inside Outer Space screengrab


The crew of China’s Shenzhou-14 mission is returning to Earth in the coming days, parachuting into the Dongfeng landing site in north China.

According to the China Global Television Network (CGTN), recovery teams are busily practicing for the return of the Shenzhou-14 crew after their 6 month stint in space.

The ground team, helicopter team, and airlift team have completed preparations and are ready for the recovery task, reports CGTN.

China’s six-person crew onboard the country’s orbital complex.
Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Up in orbit

Meanwhile, the Shenzhou-14 and Shenzhou-15 crews, adding up to six in number, have been busy handling item storage, replacement of consumables and daily experiments, said Jin Jian, deputy chief designer of the space station system.

Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab


“Some products such as consumables will expire in a few weeks or months. The typical examples are the air filters and water filters. Just like we replace the filters in water dispensers on the ground, the new crew need to know when to change the filters. Besides, many scientific experiments are under way in the space station every day and should not be interrupted. So, the new crew need to know how to continue the experiments,” Jin said in a China Central Television (CCTV) interview.

Long-term residence

Jin said the regenerative environmental control and life support system of the space station will adjust to the increased number of astronauts on board. That includes handling the recycling of water and other consumable resources to ensure the long-term residence of astronauts in orbit.

T-shape configuration of China space station.
Credit: CNSA/CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

“We need to adjust the control and collection of condensed water for the current six astronauts on board, not the previous three ones. With increased astronauts on board, we need to keep the indicators such as air temperature and humidity within the requirements,” Jin told CCTV.

“So, the working modes of these systems will be adjusted accordingly. But we have already considered and tested the different working modes for three or six people on the space station during the development on the ground. So, we are very confident that all the working modes will meet the demands for the six astronauts,” Jin concluded.

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