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Wednesday, December 7, 2016, 21:15

Astronauts meet the press after space mission

By Xinhua

Astronauts meet the press after space mission
Chinese astronaut Jing Haipeng (left) takes questions during a press conference in Beijing on Dec 7, 2016. (Xinhua)

BEIJING -- The two astronauts who manned China's Shenzhou-11 mission met the press Wednesday following almost three weeks in quarantine.

Jing Haipeng, 50, commander of the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, and Chen Dong, 38, appeared in good spirits and shared their experiences with the press.

"Today, we fulfilled our commitment to (making the Shenzhou-11 mission a complete success)," Jing said.

Listening to music and watching TV made us feel good when we ate

Jing Haipeng, Chinese astronaut

Launched on Oct 17, Shenzhou-11 docked two days later with China's first space lab, Tiangong-2, where the two astronauts lived for 30 days, the longest time a taikonaut has spent in space.

After safely returning to Earth on Nov 18, the two astronauts were quarantined to help them readapt to life on Earth.

It was the third space mission for Jing, 50, who also participated in the Shenzhou-7 and Shenzhou-9 missions.

"Compared with previous missions, I really enjoyed and experienced weightlessness during this mission as a result of improved technology and working environment," Jing told reporters.

The two astronauts were able to watch TV programs and enjoy delicious food during their stay in space.

"Listening to music and watching TV made us feel good when we ate," Jing said.

It was Chen's first space mission. He said that at the very beginning, he needed restraining devices for every step, but he gradually adapted to the zero gravity environment.

"I began to enjoy the zero gravity environment and learned new moves such as somersaulting and whirling in space," Chen said.

Astronauts meet the press after space mission
Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng (left) and ChenDong salute during a press conference in Beijing on Dec 7, 2016. (Xinhua)

"I would give Chen a mark of 100 out of 100," Jing told the press while commenting on Chen's performance.

According to Huang Weifen, deputy chief designer of the astronaut system with the Astronaut Center of China, the astronauts' health checks matched expectations, however, they will continue to be observed for another month to ensure they are completely acclimatized.

The Shenzhou-11 mission is part of China's ambitious plan to build a permanent manned space station.

Astronauts meet the press after space mission
Chinese astronauts Jing Haipeng (left) and ChenDong sign autographs for reporters during a press conference in Beijing on Dec 7, 2016. (Xinhua)

Huang said the success of China's longest-ever manned space mission shows that the country is capable of supporting astronauts' long-term stay in space.

Huang said the two astronauts quickly became accustomed to the environment in space and demonstrated excellent physical and mental condition. They successfully finished all planned scientific experiments.

The mission verified the overall quality of the astronauts, and showed that China is capable of helping astronauts stay in space for the long term, Huang added.

Huang said the mission tested some key technology and systems for long-term stay in space, including restraints for treadmills, medical ultrasounds, remote medicine, supply management, an interactive electronic manual, and plant growing technology.  

 
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