Members of the Shenzhou XVI crew narrate space stories

On Friday, Jing Haipeng (center), Zhu Yangzhu (right), and Gui Haichao (left) of the Shenzhou XVI crew will make their first formal public appearance at Beijing Aerospace City since their return from space eighty days ago. During the historic five-month mission involving China’s first civilian astronaut, the Shenzhou XVI crew members shared their space stories with the public on Friday for the first time since their return from space last October. The five crewed space station missions and the country’s eleventh manned spaceflight took place in May when the three crew members—Professor Gui Haichao, Major General Jing Haipeng, and Colonel Zhu Yangzhu—arrived at China’s Tiangong space station.


At the Beijing press conference, Jing,57, stated, “I felt especially happy to fly with the diverse crew members, which for the first time included a pilot, an engineer, and a payload specialist.” With his fourth space trip, the Shenzhou XVI mission, Jing became China’s most experienced astronaut. “In previous missions, astronauts had to multitask, piloting the spacecraft, conducting experiments, maintaining equipment, and even performing medical tasks such as conducting our own ultrasounds,” he stated. While his companions were mostly responsible for managing payloads and installing and maintaining the space station’s equipment, Jing stated, “This time, as the commander and pilot, I mainly focused on the spacecraft’s navigation and the space station’s operations.”


Jing also disclosed that toward the end of this space trip, he had actually put on weight, in contrast to his prior ones. “We strictly followed our exercise and dietary plans, which is why our physical and mental conditions were exceptionally good,” he stated. “The three astronauts are in good physical and mental health after medical quarantine and recuperative care,” said Chen Dong, head of the PLA Astronaut Division, during the news conference. “Their weight is stable and similar to preflight levels, and their muscle strength, endurance, and cardiorespiratory fitness are basically restored to the preflight state.” Before going back to their regular training and job schedules, they will get a final health evaluation, he stated.


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