Since the Shenzhou 12 astronaut crew was successfully stationed in the Tianhe core module on June 17, 2021, it has been in orbit for two months so far.
Today, the astronauts carried out the second outing activity, about one and a half months after the last outing activity on July 4th.
It is reported that there are three tasks for this outing activity. The first task is to install a thermal control extension pump unit, the second task is to raise the panoramic camera D, and the third task is to assemble the extravehicular toolbox. The missions are all preparations for the subsequent expansion module of the space station.
First, the astronauts pass through the exit hatch on the top of the space station and transfer to the resource module at the rear end utilizing a robotic arm. Next, two heat pumps will be installed. The task of installing a thermal control extension pump set is critical. Simply put, this task is mainly to install core components for the “central air conditioning” of the space station.
Especially in space, the surface temperature of spacecraft varies greatly, reaching a maximum of 150°C in the direct sun area. In contrast, the lowest temperature of the shaded surface can be as low as -100°C. This time, the thermal control system of the space station installed can be a “central air-conditioning” that can adjust the spacecraft’s temperature.
After completing this task, the astronauts return to the exit hatch through the robotic arm again to perform the second task: install the panoramic camera D. Near the exit hatch, there are four panoramic cameras. This time, the panoramic camera D needs to be raised. This will significantly improve the field of view of the panoramic camera to appreciate more of the beauty of space.
After completing the task of installing the panoramic camera, the astronauts proceed to the toolbox near the hatch to install two pieces of equipment, one is an afoot stopper, and the other is a power handle. The power handle can assist the astronauts outside the cabin. Open the cabin door to prepare for the follow-up test task.
The second out of the cabin was similar to and different from the first on July 4th. The common point was that both out of the cabin had to install a raised panoramic camera, and the two operations were roughly the same. The difference is that this task has more installation tasks for the extended pump set.
There are three astronauts responsible for this mission. Astronauts Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming are responsible for extravehicular operations. At the same time, astronaut Tang Hongbo stays in the core capsule and operates the robotic arm to coordinate the work of the extravehicular astronauts.
According to the China Manned Space Engineering Office, astronaut Nie Haisheng successfully opened the node module exit door of the Tianhe core module at 8:38 Beijing time today. After that, two extravehicular work leaders, astronauts Nie Haisheng, Astronaut Liu Boming, have successfully exited from the Tianhe core module node module and completed the foot stoppers extravehicular installation workbenches on the robotic arm. Their exit clothing is a new generation of independently developed by my country—” Flying” extravehicular spacesuit.
The entire process of this exit mission, including the astronauts entering the node module from the core module until the completion of the exit activity mission, returning to the core module, and closing the door, are all commanded and implemented by Sugon. The support team on the ground will communicate directly with the astronauts through the “Dawn Post” throughout the process. They called each other through “I am Dawn.” “Dawn understands!” and made quick decisions one by one.
For this second mission out of the cabin, the astronauts and ground staff started a series of preparations a few days ago and made some plan adjustments. The pilots also had to carry out various detailed measures before exiting the cabin. Ready to work.
As early as August 16, the astronauts rehearsed the exit procedure with the ground, carried out the on-orbit operation of the robotic arm, and became more familiar with the exit procedure.
Wu Dawei, a researcher at the China Astronaut Scientific Research and Training Center and deputy chief designer of astronaut systems, said that after having the first out of the cabin experience and conducting detailed data analysis in various aspects, the overall procedure of this outing had not changed much. Some adjustments have been made to the time allocation between the different work blocks to improve task efficiency.
In addition, due to the differences in the astronauts performing the two missions, the size of the extravehicular spacesuit was adjusted, and the glove model was changed to supplement the consumables carried by the extravehicular spacesuit.
To ensure that the astronauts have an excellent physical condition during the eight-hour exit, they have performed physical exercises and checked various physical ailments, including exercise lung function, urine routine tests, and so on.
On July 4 this year, the three astronauts of Shenzhou 12 coordinated and completed the first mission out of the cabin, which was the first time after 13 years after the successful completion of the mission of the Shenzhou VII flight crew. Task. The three astronauts also performed the last exit mission. Among them, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo replaced the extravehicular space suits to exit the cabin, and Nie Haisheng performed command and coordination tasks in the cabin.
In the last mission out of the cabin, the astronauts completed tasks such as assembling equipment related to extravehicular activities and lifting the panoramic camera.