Shenzhou-8 departs from lab, ready for return

Updated: 2011-11-16 22:00


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BEIJING - China's unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8 departed from the prototype space lab Tiangong-1 at 6:30 pm Wednesday, preparing for return to earth, a spokesperson for China's manned space program said.

This came after China had successfully completed its first two space docking tests that joined the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, launched on November 1, and the target orbiter Tiangong-1, on November 3 and November 14, respectively.

Tiangong-1, a module of a planned space lab, has been in orbit since its launch on September 29.

The Beijing Aerospace Control Center, which is in command of the mission, will signal Shenzhou-8 back to earth Thursday after conducting a series of examinations, tests and preparation, the spokesperson said.

The re-entry capsule of Shenzhou-8 is set to land on ground at around 7 pm Thursday, the spokesperson said.