Crew taking music to the stars

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 June, 2012, 12:00am


There has been a great deal of media hype about how different today's Shenzhou-IX mission will be compared to previous Chinese space missions with all-male crew.

Perhaps the astronauts' choice of in-flight entertainment for the latest mission sheds some light on the changes.

Major Liu Yang, who would be the country's first female astronaut, has told China National Radio that she and her two crewmates would take along different videos and music.

Her pick is Baijiajiangtan, a popular education programme on state television that deals with Chinese history and culture.

Despite having a busy work schedule during the mission, the radio network said the astronauts would split their daily schedule evenly between work, rest and sleep.

Liu Yang said that male crewmate Senior Colonel Liu Wang liked listening to light classics while Shenzhou-IX's male commander Senior Colonel Jing Haipeng would bring a few xiangsheng (traditional Chinese comedic crosstalk) recordings onboard.

'They will also bring a Tom and Jerry animated movie,' she said.

Liu Yang said they just wanted something easy to do when they could relax in space.

'We chose those programmes just for a relaxation,' she said. 'When we are at home, we don't always love those programmes.'

Yang Liwei , China's first astronaut, said the three members of the Shenzhou-IX crew made an excellent team and had been chosen from a group of outstanding candidates, the Beijing Evening News reported.

He said Jing was careful and vigorous and Liu Wang was smart and strong academically, especially in space theory. Liu Yang was active and outgoing and had often hosted gala shows and competed in lecture contests.

'I interviewed Liu Yang two years ago when she was being screened to become one of China's second batch of astronauts,' Yang said. 'She has a sunny personality. Although she has undergone a shorter training schedule than the other two, she has endured plenty of hardships and is quick in grasping new things.'

In contrast with Yang, who only had snacks and drank coffee during his 2003 flight which lasted more than 20 hours, the three astronauts on Shenzhou-IX would be offered at least 80 kinds of food and would be able to eat hot meals, the news portal reported.

It said the astronauts could experience a temporary decrease in their sense of taste while in space and to make up for that the spaceship was equipped with a range of sauces including hot chilli sauce and barbecue sauce.

They will be served dishes like steak fillet or shredded pork vermicelli and will have three choices of rice: assorted fried rice, curried fried rice and fried rice with bamboo sprouts and ham.

They will also be able to eat chocolates and drink milk and lemon tea.