Resident Crews of the Chinese Space Station Tiangong

Tiangong: Expedition 2

Patch Shenzhou-13 (official version) Crew Shenzhou-13

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hi res version (866 KB)

Patch Shenzhou-13 (worn on spacesuits)

alternative crew photo

alternative crew photo


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Tianzhou-3 patch

Crew, launch- and landing data

No. Nation Surname Given names Position Spacecraft
1 China  Zhai  Zhigang  Commander  Shenzhou-13  15.10.2021  16:23:56.469 UTC  Shenzhou-13  16.04.2022  01:56:37 UTC 182d 09h 32m 41s  2885 
2 China  Wang  Yaping  Astronaut  Shenzhou-13  15.10.2021  16:23:56.469 UTC  Shenzhou-13  16.04.2022  01:56:37 UTC 182d 09h 32m 41s  2885 
3 China  Ye  Guangfu  Astronaut  Shenzhou-13  15.10.2021  16:23:56.469 UTC  Shenzhou-13  16.04.2022  01:56:37 UTC 182d 09h 32m 41s  2885 

Backup Crew

No. Nation Surname Given names Position
1 China      Commander
2 China      Astronaut
3 China      Astronaut

Expedition Report

Only 6.5 hours later Shenzhou-13 docked with the Tianhe core module. They became the second resident crew of the space station.

On September 20, 2021, the unmanned freighter Tianzhou-3 had already arrived at the space station and was docked at 14:08 UTC at the rear end of the core module. Before that, on September 18, 2021 at 02:25 UTC Tianzhou-2 undocked to clear the rear end of the core module for Tianzhou-3. In a four-hour maneuver, it circled the space station and automatically docked again at the forward end of the core module, where the Shenzhou-12 spaceship was docked until September 16, 2021.One of the most important pieces of cargo was a Feitian-type EVA spacesuit, which the crew unpacked and checked. This spacesuit is apparently specially modified for women and has yellow stripes. In addition, the freighter transported 5.6 tons of other equipment to the space station. This included food, skin care products for six months, reserve equipment for the space station and space science payloads, as well as oxygen bottles and water bags.

In addition to practicing first aid cases, an evacuation exercise was carried out at the beginning of November 2021, during which a ruptured wall in the Tianhe core module and the resulting loss of pressure were assumed. The pressure loss alarm was triggered from the control center in the astronaut training center. Zhai Zhigang used a measuring device to determine how much and how quickly the pressure dropped, while Ye Guangfu opened the valve on the emergency air bottle. In a next step, the astronauts tried to determine whether the leak was in the space station itself or in the Shenzhou spacecraft (all hatches in the station are open during normal operation). After it was confirmed that the transport spacecraft was safe, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu closed the hatches to the spacecraft Tianzhou-2 and Tianzhou-3 at the front and rear ends of the Tianhe core module, respectively. A few minutes after the alarm went off, all three spacemen were in the Shenzhou return pod.

The Feitian EVA suit operates with an internal pressure of 40 kPa. This has the advantage that a decompression only takes 30 minutes, but every movement is strenuous. After climbing 50 to 60 meters along the space station, the astronauts have to take a breather halfway.

On November 07, 2021 Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping performed the first EVA in this expedition (6h 25m). It was the first EVA of a Chinese woman. The astronauts installed a grapple fixture for the robotic arm on the nadir side of the corridor section of the core module. In 2022, a second, smaller arm will be brought to the station together with the Wentian science module. The second arm can be connected to the large arm and gives it a greater range of 14.5 m. However, the longer arm needs a special attachment point. While Zhai Zhigang let himself be carried to the worksite by the robotic arm with the attached devices, Wang Yaping made her way forward using the handles on the outer wall. Wang Yaping also tested working in China's upgraded Feitian spacesuit while mounted on the end of the arm.

On December 09, 2021, as in 2013 at Shenzhou-10, Wang Yaping held a lesson from space with the support of Zhai Zhigang and Ye Guangfu to interest Chinese youth in natural sciences. The receiving stations on the ground were located in the Chinese Museum of Science and Technology, Beijing, in Nanning, Wenchuan in Sichuan Province, in Hong Kong and in Macau. After the severe earthquake there in 2008, Wang Yaping had flown aid supplies to Wenchuan. From there, students could ask questions. The state television broadcaster CCTV also broadcast the event live. First, the astronauts present their day-to-day work on board the space station. The focus was on a scientific experiment on cell biology. The astronauts also performed experiments suitable for high school students on the behavior of effervescent tablets in weightlessness, the surface tension of water, etc.

Zhai Zhigang and Ye Guangfu performed the second spacewalk in this expedition on December 26, 2021 (6h 11m). Wang Wang controlled the robotic arm from inside the Tianhe module. The two astronauts continued to outfit the space station with tools needed to support future activities. Tasks were the deployment of the external camera platform "C" outside the core module and various object translation test objectives. The previous crew of Shenzhou-12 had already moved two camera platforms to get a larger field of view. Additional work included installing platforms to anchor the feet. Finally, in preparation for future spacecraft missions, they tested the locomotion along the longitudinal axis of the station without the aid of the grapple arm. Larger objects were transported in which they were passed on from one astronaut to the next.

On January 05, 2022 successfully conducted a transposition test of the Tianzhou-2 cargo craft using its space station's robotic arm. The freighter took over the role of the planned science module Wentian. The test took 47 minutes.
It was the first time that the robotic arm operated a large in-orbit spacecraft for a transfer test, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).After being unlocked and separated from the space station core module Tianhe, Tianzhou-2 was moved into a predetermined position by the robotic arm. The arm then reversed the maneuvers to bring the spacecraft back to its original position. However, Tianzhou-2 was not docked at the port lock during the maneuver, but was then swung back and docked again at the forward nose lock and locked.

Two days later, on January 07, 2022, another exercise took place. The freighter Tianzhou-2 was undocked from the bow lock. Under the observation of the control center, the astronauts steered the freighter from the station by radio remote control to a position 200 m in front of the space station. After briefly holding the position, he was also flown manually to within 19 meters of the Tianhe module. Finally, the astronauts re-docked Tianzhou-2 to the Tianhe nose lock. The exercise simulated manual rendezvous and docking in case of failure of the automatic rendezvous and docking, which is the default.

China's cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-2 separated from the core module of the country's space station on March 27, 2022 at 07:59 UTC, announced the China Manned Space Agency. During its operation in orbit, Tianzhou-2 carried out a series of extended application tests. It is now in good condition, and will enter the Earth's atmosphere at an appropriate time under ground control, the agency added.
Carrying 6.8 tons of supplies for the space station, it was launched from the Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on the coast of the southern island province of Hainan on May 29, 2021.
CMSA confirmed that the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft re-entered Earth on March 31, 2022 at 10:40 UTC over the Pacific Ocean.

EVA data

  Name Start End Duration Mission Airlock Suit
EVA Zhai Zhigang 07.11.2021, 10:51 UTC 07.11.2021, 17:16 UTC 6h 25m Shenzhou-13 Tianhe Feitian-2 a (red)
EVA Wang Yaping 07.11.2021, 10:51 UTC 07.11.2021, 17:16 UTC 6h 25m Shenzhou-13 Tianhe Feitian-2 c (yellow)
EVA Zhai Zhigang 26.12.2021, 10:44 UTC 26.12.2021, 16:55 UTC 6h 11m Shenzhou-13 Tianhe Feitian-2 a (red)
EVA Ye Guangfu 26.12.2021, 10:44 UTC 26.12.2021, 16:55 UTC 6h 11m Shenzhou-13 Tianhe Feitian-2 c (yellow)

Photos / Graphics

Tiangong after docking of Shenzhou-13
EVA on November 07, 2021 Robotic arm
EVA Wang Yaping on November 07, 2021 EVA Wang Yaping on November 07, 2021
EVA Wang Yaping on November 07, 2021 EVA Wang Yaping on November 07, 2021
life onboard Tiangong life onboard Tiangong
life onboard Tiangong Tianhe module
Ye Guangfu onboard Tiangong Wang Yaping onboard Tiangong
Zhai Zhigang onboard Tiangong Tianhe module
Chinese New Year celebration onboard Tiangong Feitian space suit

Earth observation photos

more onboard photos


Last update on March 07, 2024.