Shenzhou 10

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Shenzhou 10
Tiangong 1 drawing.png
Diagram of Shenzhou 10 (right) docked with Tiangong-1 (left)
COSPAR ID2013-029A Edit this at Wikidata
SATCAT no.39179
Mission duration14 days, 14 hours, 29 minutes
Spacecraft properties
Spacecraft typeShenzhou
Crew size3
MembersNie Haisheng
Zhang Xiaoguang
Wang Yaping
Start of mission
Launch date11 June 2013, 09:38:02 (2013-06-11UTC09:38:02Z) UTC
RocketLong March 2F
Launch siteJiuquan LA-4/SLS
End of mission
Landing date26 June 2013, 00:07 (2013-06-26UTC00:08Z) UTC
Landing siteInner Mongolia
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric
RegimeLow Earth
Perigee altitude262 kilometres (163 mi)
Apogee altitude315 kilometres (196 mi)
Inclination42.7 degrees
Period90.28 minutes
Epoch12 June 2013[1]
Docking with Tiangong-1
Docking date13 June 2013, 05:11 UTC
Undocking date25 June 2013
Time docked12 days

Shenzhou 10 (Chinese: 神舟十号; pinyin: Shénzhōu Shíhào) was a crewed spaceflight of China's Shenzhou program that was launched on 11 June 2013. It was China's fifth crewed space mission.[2][3] The mission had a crew of three astronauts: Nie Haisheng, who was mission commander and previously flew on Shenzhou 6; Zhang Xiaoguang, a former PLAAF squadron commander who conducted the rendezvous and docking; and Wang Yaping, the second Chinese female astronaut. The Shenzhou spacecraft docked with the Tiangong-1 trial space laboratory module on 13 June,[4] and the astronauts performed physical, technological, and scientific experiments while on board. Shenzhou 10 was the 2nd and final expedition and mission to Tiangong-1 in this portion of the Tiangong program.[5] On 26 June 2013, after a series of successful docking tests, Shenzhou 10 returned to Earth.[6]


Prior to the reboost of Tiangong-1 on 30 August 2012, it was projected that a launch window would open between late November and December 2012, when Tiangong-1's orbit had decayed to the level of a Shenzhou's standard orbit. With the reboost, it was expected that the orbital decay would bring Tiangong-1 within reach again in late January, so the Shenzhou 10 mission was anticipated for late January or February 2013.[7] At the 18th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, a space official stated that Shenzhou 10 was planned for the period between June and August 2013.[8]

It is the fifth crewed mission of the Shenzhou program, coming ten years after the original, Shenzhou 5.[9]

From 2012 November onwards, a feed of information ensued, including a desire for the crew to have a female member and that the actual launch date would be at the beginning of the June–August period. Knowledge of the conditions that China sets for launch windows for its piloted spacecraft allowed the likely launch date to be calculated as somewhere in the period between 7 and 13 June.[10]

Xinhua News Agency published an item from the Beijing Times that summed up the aims of the mission, and included the information that Wang Yaping was the only female trainee in the group of astronaut candidates.[11] Wang Yaping was announced to be the one of the crew in April 2013, the only member of the crew revealed until June, when the rest of the crew was revealed. The crew of Shenzhou 10 previously served as the backup crew to Shenzhou 9.[12][13] With Nie Haisheng's elevation to general, this marked the first instance that China would launch a flag officer into space, after they had become a general officer.[14]

Launch and docking[edit]

Shenzhou 10 was launched on 11 June 2013, at 09:38 UTC (17:38 local time). A Long March 2F[15] carrier rocket was used to perform the launch, flying from Pad 1 of the South Launch Site at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Inner Mongolia. The spacecraft successfully reached low Earth orbit before the rocket detached. With a duration of 15 days, Shenzhou 10 was China's longest human spaceflight mission to date,[16][17] surpassing the previous record holder, Shenzhou 9 by two days.[18] CPC General Secretary, Chinese President Xi Jinping was present for both the departure ceremony, and the launch itself.[19]

The spacecraft docked with Tiangong-1 at 05:11 UTC on 13 June. The crew opened the hatch three hours later and entered the laboratory module.[20]


Shenzhou 10 returned to Earth on Wednesday, 26 June 2013 00:07 UTC. Total mission duration was 14 days 14 hours and 29 minutes.[21]


Once docked at Tiangong-1, the three crew members conducted space medicine and technological experiments and other scientific endeavours. Nie Haisheng was mission commander, overseeing docking procedures, and pilot Zhang Xiaoguang was in charge of rendezvous and docking. Wang Yaping conducted the scientific experiments and taught a physics lesson to Chinese students by live television broadcast.[22] On 23 June, Shenzhou 10 undocked from the station and performed a manual re-docking.[23]


Position Crew member
Commander Nie Haisheng
Second spaceflight
Operator[15] Zhang Xiaoguang
First spaceflight
Laboratory Assistant[15] Wang Yaping
First spaceflight

While in orbit, Wang Yaping was one of only two women in space on 16 June 2013, the 50th anniversary of Vostok 6, the first space flight by a woman, Valentina Tereshkova. The other woman in space that day was Karen Nyberg on board the International Space Station.[24]

Space lecture[edit]

The lecture materials used by Wang on the Tiangong-1 space station

One widely reported event of this mission was the space lecture by Wang Yaping. On 20 June, around 10:00, two physics teachers started the lesson in the Beijing classroom. A few minutes later the crew was visible to 60 million Chinese students. They saw Wang Yaping conduct five experiments:[25]

  • Mass measurement: Using Newton's second law () the mass of Nie Haisheng was measured to be 74 kilograms (163 lb).
  • Simple pendulum: The Beijing class started by showing a simple pendulum, then Wang Yaping did the same to show the pendulum moving in an endless rotation.
  • Behaviour of a gyro: Wang Yaping put two gyros up, one spinning and one not, and touched both slightly. The spinning gyro kept its axis.
  • Surface tension: Wang Yaping showed the importance of surface tension in the absence of gravity by wobbling a water film inside a ring. When swinging the water film bulged, but it did not break.
  • Water ball: Wang Yaping showed that water will automatically form a (near perfect) ball in space and explained this using the same surface tension.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Satellite catalog". Jonathan's Space Page. Retrieved 25 May 2014.
  2. ^ "专访十八大代表牛红光:神十将于明年6月发射". China Internet Information Center (in Chinese). 10 November 2012. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  3. ^ Wong, Andy (11 June 2013). "Chinese spacecraft blasts off with 3 astronauts". The Jakarta Post. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  4. ^ "Chinese spacecraft blasts off from Gobi desert". The Guardian. Reuters. 11 June 2013. Archived from the original on 14 June 2013. Alt URL
  5. ^ "China prepares to launch first space lab module this week". Space Daily. 27 September 2011. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  6. ^ "China's Shenzhou 10 spacecraft's docking manoeuvres a success - video". The Guardian. ITN. 25 June 2013. Retrieved 16 June 2021.
  7. ^ Christy, Robert (4 September 2012). "Tiangong Orbit Change Signals Likely Date for Shenzhou 10". Space Daily. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  8. ^ Wang, Aileen; Edwards, Nick (10 November 2012). Popeski, Ron (ed.). "China to launch new manned spaceship in 2013: Xinhua". NewsDaily. Reuters. Archived from the original on 15 November 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  9. ^ Bodeen, Christopher (10 June 2013). "China marks decade of human spaceflight". NewsDaily. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 10 June 2013.
  10. ^ Christy, Robert (11 March 2013). "Shenzhou 10 – Heads Up!". Archived from the original on 16 June 2013.
  11. ^ "神十抵酒泉6月至8月发射 王亚平成唯一候选女航天员" [Shenzhou 10 arrived at Jiuquan for launch June–August, Yaping is the only female astronaut candidate]. Beijing Times (in Chinese). 1 April 2013. Archived from the original on 4 April 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2021 – via Xinhua News Agency.
  12. ^ Jones, Morris (3 April 2013). "Shenzhou's Shadow Crew". Space Daily. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  13. ^ "Astronauts of Shenzhou-10 mission meet press". Space Daily. 11 June 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  14. ^ "China's space dream crystallized with Shenzhou-10 launch". Space Daily. 16 June 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  15. ^ a b c Barbosa, Rui C. (10 June 2013). "China launches three person crew on Shenzhou-10". Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  16. ^ Wong, Andy (11 June 2013). "Shenzhou 10 Launch: Chinese Spacecraft Blasts Off With Three Astronauts on 15-Day Mission". The Huffington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  17. ^ Tate, Karl (11 June 2013). "Shenzhou 10 Explained: Chinese Astronauts Head to Space Lab (Infographic)". Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  18. ^ "China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft returns to Earth". BBC News. 29 June 2012. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  19. ^ Deng, Shasha, ed. (11 June 2013). "Chinese President sees off Shenzhou-10 crew, watches spacecraft launch". Xinhua News Agency. Archived from the original on 16 June 2013.
  20. ^ "Shenzhou-10: Chinese capsule docks with space laboratory". BBC News. 13 June 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
  21. ^ Atkinson, Nancy (26 June 2013). "China's Shenzhou-10 Crew Returns to Earth". Universe Today. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  22. ^ Clark, Stephen (11 June 2013). "Successful start for China's fifth human spaceflight". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 11 June 2013.
  23. ^ "Shenzhou-10 completes manual docking". China Internet Information Center. Xinhua News Agency. 23 June 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  24. ^ Kremer, Ken (16 June 2013). "Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova; 1st Woman in Space 50 Years Ago! Ready for Mars". Universe Today. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  25. ^ Chen, Lan (July 2013). "Tiangong 1 Revisited: Learning to Operate a Space Station, with a Grand Vision in Mind" (PDF). Go Taikonauts!. No. 9. pp. 10–12. Retrieved 20 July 2021.

External links[edit]