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.



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