Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng has a meal in space. /CFP

Nothing is too trivial when it comes to living in space. For a medium- to long-term mission, daily necessities must be durable and have a long shelf life. That is where science and technology come in. Thanks to China’s many independent innovations, the country’s astronauts, or taikonauts, can rest easy in space.

A tiny lint fuzz could lead to big trouble in space as it could cause the taikonauts to have trouble breathing. The materials for the spacesuit must protect against this and over 10 other requirements, including anti-bacteria, anti-static and good ventilation and sweat absorption, for the duration of the trip.

More than 20 researchers have spent three years independently developing the right material for the spacesuits at a research base designated for fabric research and development for special purpose workwear in Huzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province.

Besides the spacesuit, the fridge and the microwave oven in the space station are two big helpers that make the taikonauts’ space life easier.

The fridge has a compound insulation design that is both sturdy and lightweight. It can be monitored and controlled by the ground control center 400 kilometers away. Meanwhile, the energy-saving technology used on the fridge can reduce energy usage by 25 percent and increase the efficiency rate to freeze things by 50 percent.

It’s the first time a microwave oven was installed for taikonauts to heat food aboard a spacecraft. It took the researchers 10 years to develop and iterate the technology. It usually takes seven minutes to warm up a meal.

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