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Staff Picks

Chinese astronauts on a busy space schedule

2y ago
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How does it feel to ride an exercise bike in space?..China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang, gives us her answer. Having successfully launched and docked, astronauts on board China's Tiangong-1 space lab began their scientific experiments on Wednesday. Top of the list is learning about how weightlessness affects the body and keeping fit in space. Chen Shanguang, Director, Astronaut centre of China: "With nothing to weigh the human body down, muscle mass quickly degenerates in orbit. This means astronauts need to keep moving in other ways. This mission will primarily focus on medical experiments with later missions likely to research other aspects of space travel. Apart from the exercise bike, we have other kinds of equipment to protect the astronauts from the effects of weightlessness and to maintain their cardio and muscular functions." The first raft of experiments kept Liu Yang very busy, it's her first night shift in outer space.. But all work and no play make for a dull astronaut..so apart from checking all the equipment and sending data back to the control centre, Liu Yang took some time out during night duty to play Rubic's cube and clean up the space lab. And Liu Yang wasn't the only one to have a sleepless night, control centre staff and engineers on the ground were on duty to provide support. Over a period of up to 10 days, the crew will perform a variety of tasks designed to get them used to life in space. Their work will prepare the way for China to eventually build a full scale, permanently manned space station.