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Taikonauts wish China happy National Day from space

Screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center on Sept. 2, 2022 shows China's Shenzhou-14 taikonaut Liu Yang (L) returning to the space station lab module Wentian after completing extravehicular activities. (Photo by Li Jie/Xinhua)

BEIJING, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- The celebrations of China's National Day have for the first time reached orbit, as the Shenzhou-14 taikonauts living aboard the Tiangong space station sent a message wishing their great motherland a happy birthday.

Falling on Oct. 1, National Day is the birthday of New China. In a video released on Saturday, taikonauts Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzhe commemorated the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China from space.

They said they were well prepared for the arrival of the Mengtian lab module and the completion of the Chinese space station in orbit. The three taikonauts expressed gratitude to the Chinese people for their support and to the great era, and vowed to accomplish their tasks "to fill space with the glory of the motherland."

The Shenzhou-14 crew concluded their message with a salute.

Liu, the only female among the Shenzhou-14 crew, also shared a grand view of sunrise from the space station.

On Friday, a day ahead of this year's National Day, the Shenzhou-14 taikonauts, together with professionals on Earth, repositioned the station's Wentian lab module to dock with a side port on the core module. It marked the first time China used specialized facilities to move a large spacecraft in orbit, said the China Manned Space Agency.

The Shenzhou-14 crew has been in space since June 5, completing multiple tasks, such as performing spacewalks, testing equipment, and conducting scientific experiments. They will also be involved in the first Chinese space station crew handover in orbit when the Shenzhou-15 crew arrives by the end of this year. ■