Shenzhou-10 Crew Departs Tiangong-1, Will Land Tonight EDT

Shenzhou-10 Crew Departs Tiangong-1, Will Land Tonight EDT

The Shenzhou-10 crew undocked from Tiangong-1 and made a fly-around of the space station overnight Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and is now preparing to return to Earth.   The Chinese media say the landing will be “around 8:00 am Wednesday” Beijing time, which will be about 8:00 pm tonight (Tuesday, June 25) EDT.

Chinese media report that the crew performed a fly-around and redocked with Tiangong-1 in what they described as a first-ever procedure for their program.  This crew and its predecessor, Shenzhou-9, each performed manual undockings/redockings with Tiangong-1 so the “first” apparently refers to the fly-around.   China is also reaffirming that this is the last crew to visit the module, which now will be placed into “a higher orbit for long term flight.”  

The small space station was launched in September 2011 and visited by the automated Shenzhou-8 spacecraft for rendezvous and docking tests that year.   In 2012, the three-person Shenzhou-9 crew became China’s first space station crew, as well as the first Chinese space crew with a woman (Liu Yang).

The current Shenzhou-10 crew also includes a woman, Wang Yaping, along with two men, Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang.  They were launched on June 11 and boarded the space station on June 13.

China did not announce a precise landing time, but Bob Christy at calculates that it will be on June 26 at 00:07 GMT plus or minus 5 minutes.  That is 8:07 pm tonight, June 25, EDT.


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