Taikonaut Plays Chinese Zither on Space Station
Wang Yaping, a taikonaut onboard China’s space station core module, offered people on Earth a zero-gravity musical performance to celebrate the Lantern Festival last month.
She played a segment of the popular Chinese folk song Jasmine Flower.
The space show was shared via a video released at an annual TV gala for the festival celebration via CCTV 3. In the video, Wang was seen floating in the space module while playing a guzheng, or Chinese zither.
The crew members, who traveled to the space station core module on the Shenzhou-13 mission, kept some festive traditions alive as they continued to orbit the Earth.
Commander Zhai Zhigang wrote riddles on red paper scrolls with a brush pen. He displayed the calligraphy together with taikonaut Ye Guangfu and extended festival greetings to the audience.
The video of the space performance was received with much enthusiasm after it was shared on social media platforms. It drew nearly 2 million hits in one hour after several national media outlets posted it on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo.
The Lantern Festival also marks the last day of the lunar New Year celebration. Though far from home, the festive sentiments in space are the same.
“The video was also broadcasted on CCTV-3, the art-focused channel of the CCTV (China Central Television) Network in the People’s Republic of China. This channel is based mainly on dance and music broadcast since November 30, 1995. CCTV-3 now has a set of entertainment, participation, and appreciation in a “new audio-visual” column to the broad masses of love art audience.”
The China Manned Space Agency released a video on social media prior to the celebration, showing that the taikonauts had decorated the orbiting core module with red lanterns, Chinese knots and paper-cutting decorations.
Donning new clothes, the trio enjoyed the traditions of eating dumplings and pasting spring couplets on walls.
During the Chinese New Year holiday, they were also spotted watching the Winter Olympics and doing workouts in orbit.
Click here to watch the video.
On Oct 16, 2021, the Shenzhou-13 mission sent the three taikonauts to the space station for a six-month stay — the longest-ever duration in the country’s manned space program.
They have completed multiple tasks over the past few months, including performing spacewalks, a live science lecture, and a manual rendezvous and docking test with the Tianzhou-2 cargo vessel.
In June 2021, three Chinese astronauts floated into the country’s new Tiangong space station, becoming the first people to board China’s outpost in orbit after a successful launch from a military base in the Gobi Desert. China plans to complete the building of its space station in 2022.