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Shenzhou-18 crew prepares for material extravehicular exposure experiments

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Shenzhou-18 crew prepares for material extravehicular exposure experiments

2024-05-18 21:01 Last Updated At:05-19 10:05

The Shenzhou-18 astronaut crew onboard China's Tiangong space station has completed the assembly, testing and second extravehicular installation of the facilities for material exposure experiments.

The China Manned Space Agency on Saturday released a video of the astronauts' work over the past week, showing them installing experimental facilities, conducing medical trainings, and performing daily fitness activities.

The three Chinese astronauts Ye Guangfu, Li Cong and Li Guangsu were sent to the orbiting Tiangong space station for a six-month mission on April 25.

The video showed the astronauts assembling and testing the tribology experiment box for solid-liquid compound lubrication, which is one of the major facilities for their scientific research task.

With this experiment box, a project will be carried out to try to realize "super-lubrication" or zero-wear in mechanical movement in the harsh space environment, and to scientifically reveal the evolution process of lubrication and the damage mechanism of lubricating materials in the real space environment.

In addition, the three astronauts also replaced samples in the experiment cavity of the containerless material laboratory cabinet and maintained the axial mechanism.

Previously, a number of key research projects had been carried out in the containerless cabinet, and many batches of experimental samples had been brought back to Earth for further tests and researches.

While carrying out scientific experiments and maintenance of experimental devices as planned, the three astronauts also completed a number of tasks including environmental monitoring of the space station and on-orbit training for medical rescue.

On-orbit medical check is key to ensure the health and safety of astronauts. Since entering orbit more than half a month ago, the crew has carried out various medical checks such as mass measurement and intraocular pressure and funduscopic examination.

The advanced medical system based on the space station, which includes traditional Chinese medical four-diagnostic auxiliary apparatus and modern medical technologies, has provided the astronauts with more accurate health management, and help ground researchers monitor the astronauts' physical conditions.

Astronauts in space face a series of physiological challenges brought about by the microgravity environment, including changes in the cardiovascular system, muscle atrophy and bone density loss. The Shenzhou-18 astronauts have performed regular weightlessness protection exercises, such as treadmill training and resistance training, so as to maintain good physical condition for the half-year mission.

Shenzhou-18 crew prepares for material extravehicular exposure experiments

Shenzhou-18 crew prepares for material extravehicular exposure experiments

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Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

2024-07-20 07:14 Last Updated At:08:27

China's border ports have been implementing a range of cargo facilitation policies, leading to a surge in cargo throughput, with a nearly 57 percent year-on-year increase in the inspection of transportation vehicles in the first half of 2024.

According to the data recently released by the National Immigration Administration, China's ports inspected about 15.42 million vehicle, vessel, and train trips in the first six months of this year, a 56.9 percent jump from the same period last year.

The border ports have rolled out a series of measures to streamline customs clearance for cargo. At major land ports, fast lanes have been set up for the rapid release of critical supplies. At major seaports, online declaration has been enabled for border inspection boarding. In international shipping, arriving vessels can have much faster departures thanks to the efficient inspections.

The combined sea-rail transport model, utilizing maritime routes and the China-Europe freight train service, has made the port of Lianyungang in east China's Jiangsu Province one of the most convenient and economical gateways to the sea. It handles more than 80 percent of Kazakhstan's transit cargo to China.

At the port, containers carrying with auto parts, home appliances, and other products are offloaded, hoisted onto trucks, and then loaded onto China-Europe freight trains bound for destinations like Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

"From unloading to boarding the freight train, the entire process can now be completed in as little as eight minutes. These containers are expected to reach the border ports within six days, greatly reducing transportation time and cost," said a logistics company employee.

The Youyi Pass in the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, also known as Friendship Pass, on the China-Vietnam border is an important cross-national trade channel. To enhance the clearance efficiency of imported fruits, the port has established "durian-only" channels and green channels for agricultural products, as well as an intelligent inspection assistance system. A Chinese cargo truck can now clear customs in just 15 seconds.

As the country's largest land port for fruit imports and exports, the Youyi Pass saw fruit imports worth 23.92 billion yuan (about 3.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2023, a 262.9-percent surge year on year.

Pattama Narmwong, chairman of the Thai Mangosteen Association, noted that the greatly improved clearance efficiency has considerably cut down on transportation time and costs, supporting the burgeoning development of fruit trade between China and Southeast Asian nations.

Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

Cargo throughput surges as China's ports streamline customs clearance

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