Chinese astronauts nap in space in a rare footage

Astronauts record first 24 hours in space
A screengrab from a CCTV video shows Tang Hongbo getting ready to take a nap in his sleep pod. Source: CCTV
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Daily US Times: Even in space, afternoon naps are all in a day’s work for the Chinese astronauts working on China’s new space station.

New footage released on Wednesday also showed the three men – Liu Boming, Nie Haisheng and Tang Hongbo – having meals as boxes floated around them.

The video documented their first 24 hours in space aboard the Tianhe module, where they will stay for three months.

It is China’s first crewed space mission in nearly 5 years, and will be its longest to date.

According to a news clip that aired on China’s national broadcaster Central China Television (CCTV), the Chinese astronauts start the day by communicating with ground control at 08:00 and do not finish work until about 21:00, when they give an update of their progress.

CCTV said that every week, the men will get a day off so as to maintain “good spirits”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke to the astronauts in a five-minute call on Wednesday, where he thanked them for their work.

Mr Xi said, according to a report by the South China Morning Post: “You will spend three months in space and, while in space, your work and your life there will be in the hearts of the Chinese public.”

The primary objective for Commander Nie and his team in the mission is to bring the 22.5-tonne Tianhe module into service.

It is another demonstration of China’s growing capability and confidence in the space domain.

In the past six months, the country has returned soil and rock samples to Earth from the surface of the Moon, and landed a six-wheeled robot on Mars – both highly complex and challenging endeavours.