Chinese astronauts celebrate Lunar New Year in space

New space station was decorated in festive red to mark the Year of the Tiger

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Astronauts aboard the Chinese space station decorated the spaceship in festive red to celebrate the New Lunar Year.

The Shenzhou 13 astronauts welcomed Year of the Tiger, which began on February 1, with red balloons and banners marked with messages of good fortune.

This was the first Lunar New Year celebrated on the new Tiangong space station, which was launched into orbit on October 15 and is currently hosting three astronauts in its core module, Tianhe.

In a video released by CCTV, China’s state-owned TV channel, the astronauts wished everyone a happy new year.

“I wish you all a Happy New Year, good health, good luck and an auspicious Year of the Tiger,” astronaut Zhai Zhigang said.

Wang Yaping, who is the first woman on the station and the first Chinese woman to perform a spacewalk, also sent greetings.

“I wish all children liveliness and thriving growth,” said Ms Yaping, who carried out a spacewalk for more than six hours with her colleague in November.

The station is still under construction and it is expected to be completed by the end of this year after the remaining segments are sent up.

Elsewhere in space, the Tianwen-1 probe sent back a set of selfie videos from the orbit of Mars on the eve of the Lunar New Year.

The orbiter is part of China’s mission to Mars, which also included the Zhurong rover that landed on the Red Planet.

The Tianwen-1 entered Mars' orbit on February 10 last year and the rover landed on the surface on May 14.

In the video, a selfie stick unfolds and the camera attached to it films the movement, offering views of the spacecraft and its solar panel as it orbits Mars.

China's Zhurong rover on Mars - in pictures

Updated: February 02, 2022, 7:19 AM