Chinese astronauts have completed a 19-day desert survival training exercise. The exercise was organised by the Astronaut Center of China (ACC) and simulated the events of an emergency return to Earth landing in the Badain Jaran Desert.
The 15 astronauts were split into six groups of three. Each group worked through a variety of scenarios over 48 hours that including performing tasks like survival bunker construction, desert trekking and establishing short and long distance emergency communication.
Among the astronauts who braved the harsh desert conditions was Wang Yaping, the second Chinese woman to ever visit space. The 38-year-old is fondly referred to as Taikong Jiaoshi, “the space teacher” because of a series of televised science lessons she gave in 2012 aboard the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft. Wang Yaping hopes to return to the stars once more with aspirations to be the first woman to ever set foot on the surface of the moon.
As China’s astronauts prepare for launch, the country’s space agency is well on their way to launch their home away from home, the Chinese Space Station (CSS). The first module of the station is scheduled to launch in 2020. More than a dozen launches more will be required to complete the station over a two-year period. The country hopes to welcome the first astronauts aboard the station by 2022.