China’s Shenzhou 10 Spacecraft returns safely
The Shenzhou 10 spacecraft (China’s 5th manned space mission since 2003) with its three astronauts touched down safely in north China’s Inner Mongolia after a successful 15-day mission in which they completed the final trial docking with the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace) 1 (an experimental manned laboratory in space), critical in Beijing’s quest to build a working space station by 2020.
About Shenzhou 10:
- Launched on June 11, 2013.
- Commanded by Nie Haisheng, with Zhang Xiaoguang and female astronaut Wang Yaping also on board.
- A manned spaceflight of China’s Shenzhou program.
- China’s 5th manned space mission.
- The final mission to Tiangong 1 in this portion of the Tiangong program.
- Returned to Earth after a series of successful docking tests.
About Tiangong 1
- Tiangong-1 ( meaning: “Heavenly Palace 1”) is China’s first space station
- An experimental test-bed to demonstrate orbital rendezvous and docking capabilities.
- Launched unmanned aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket in September 2011.
- First operational component of the Tiangong program, which aims to place a larger, modular station into orbit by 2020.
- It is projected to be deorbited in 2013, and replaced over the following decade by the larger Tiangong-2 and Tiangong-3 modules.
- It was visited by the unmanned Shenzhou 8 and the manned Shenzhou 9 mission before being the third and final mission to Tiangong-1, the manned Shenzhou 10.