Shenzhou-9 Lands Safely, but With a Bump
China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft landed as expected in Inner Mongolia at 10:00 pm Eastern Daylight Time tonight. The landing marks the end of a successful mission that saw China's first crewed docking with its first space station, Tiangong-1, and the flight of China's first woman astronaut, Liu Yang.
China's English-language television broadcast on CCTV showed excellent video of varous phases of the landing, including the spacecraft descending on its parachute. Like Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, small thrusters on Shenzhou spacecraft fire about 1 meter (3 feet) above the ground to cushion the landing. It did appear that the thrusters fired, but the spacecraft hit the ground hard and flipped over. At this moment, the crew is still inside being tended to by medical personnel as they readapt to gravity.
China has not yet released an official landing time, but Bob Christy at zarya.info puts it at 02:00:16 GMT June 29 (10:00:16 pm June 28 EDT, or 10:00:16 am June 29 Beijing time).
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