The Bunks in the Chinese Space Station Are Absolutely Enormous

The Chinese state-owned news agency CGTN shared a new image of astronaut Tang Hongbo relaxing aboard the country's new space station. It is surprisingly luxurious.
This photo shows Hongbo's sleeping quarters. It is a large portion of the Tianhe core module that forms Chinas new Tiangong satellite. He appears to have attached manuals, headphones and photos of his family to his large bunk. There's even a window to let him see outside.

Image credit: CGTN

It appears that Hongbo will get a bed similar to a twin mattress. There is also tons of overhead space and each crew member gets their own living quarters.

It is actually much larger than the cramped sleeping quarters aboard the International Space Station where astronauts must squeeze into a small space about the size of a telephone booth.



Scott Kelly, a veteran NASA astronaut, said that when I was chosen [to become an astronaut], they would give us a test for claustrophobia. He spent 520 days in space and spoke to Travel and Leisure earlier this month.

He said that they make you climb up in a rubber bag with heavy zippers and then force you to roll into a ball. They place a heart monitor on your chest, zip you up and then push you into the closet. You wouldn't even know how long it took to get there.

NASA's retired Space Shuttle had even smaller living quarters, which forced astronauts to share their beds wherever they went.

Although the crew quarters aboard the Tianhe module seem to be significantly larger, it is not clear how large the other bunks and if each crew member receives such treatment.



This is only one module in a much larger set of plans for the station. The station will be a fraction smaller than the ISS at full size. It features the Tianhe module to house crew quarters, and two additional modules that can be used for scientific experiments.

After launching in June, Hongbo and two other crew members spent three months on the longest space mission of the country aboard the station. They spent several hours setting up the station and performing spacewalks.

China is not losing any time. The team made it back safely last week. China has already sent cargo supplies to the small module this week, along with supplies for the next three astronauts. They are expected to launch next month.

It is a remarkable and fast pace. China hopes to complete the construction of the station's three modules by the end next year.



It clearly spent no money to make the crew quarters as comfortable as possible.

READ MORE: How does China's space station view the moon? [CGTN]

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