Shenzhou 13

Summary

Shenzhou 13
Shenzhou 13 roll out.jpg
Roll out of Shenzhou 13
Mission typeChinese Space Station crew transport
OperatorChina Manned Space Agency
COSPAR ID2021-092A
SATCAT no.49326Edit this on Wikidata
Mission duration180 days (planned)
5 days and 23 minutes (in progress)
Spacecraft properties
SpacecraftShenzhou 13
Spacecraft typeShenzhou
ManufacturerChina Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation
Crew
Crew size3
MembersZhai Zhigang
Wang Yaping
Ye Guangfu
Start of mission
Launch date15 October 2021, 16:23:56 UTC[1]
RocketLong March 2F
Launch siteJiuquan, LA-4/SLS
ContractorChina Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology
End of mission
Landing dateApril 2022 (planned)
Landing siteInner Mongolia, China
Orbital parameters
Reference systemGeocentric orbit
RegimeLow Earth orbit
Inclination41.5°
Docking with Chinese Space Station
Docking portTianhe
Docking date15 October 2021, 22:56 UTC
Time docked4 days, 17 hours and 51 minutes (in progress)
Shenzhou 13 insignia.png
Shenzhou 13 mission patch
Shenzhou 13 crew.jpg
Ye Guangfu, Zhai Zhigang and Wang Yaping 

Shenzhou 13 (Chinese: 神舟十三号; pinyin: Shénzhōu Shísān-hào) is the eighth crewed Chinese spaceflight and the thirteenth flight of the Shenzhou program. The spacecraft carried three People's Liberation Army Astronaut Corps (PLAAC) taikonauts on the second flight to the Tianhe core module, the first module of the Tiangong space station.[2] The launch of the three-person crew with a Long March-2F launch vehicle from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center took place on October 15, 2021 at 16:23 UTC, and the return is planned for spring 2022[1].

Background

The spaceflight is the first of the upcoming missions set to last six months (180 days).[3] After that, the six-month stay aboard the space station will become the normal duration of the astronaut crew in orbit.[4] The flight marks the second of four crewed missions scheduled to dock with the Tiangong space station by the end of construction in 2022.[5]

Mission

The spacecraft was launched on a Long March-2F launch vehicle in Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in China's Gobi Desert on 15 October 2021, at 16:23:56 UTC.[6] After about six-and-a-half hours flight it arrived at Chinese space station Tiangong. The mission docked with the Tianhe core module at 22:56 UTC, on 15 October 2021, following the launch and successful docking of Tianzhou 3 on 20 September 2021, the third flight of China's Tianzhou cargo resupply craft.

The crew entered the Tianhe core module later on 16 October 2021, at 01:58 UTC as the second expedition to the Tiangong space station.[7]

Shenzhou 14 will be in standby for any possible rescue mission.

Spacecraft

Diagram of a Shenzhou spacecraft

Shenzhou 13 spacecraft is based heavily on Soyuz MS technology. Shenzhou was approved in 1992 as part of the Chinese space program Project 921, and has a design similar to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

In the front of the spacecraft, there is the orbital module which contains an androgynous docking ring based on APAS technology, which is used to dock to the Tianhe core module. In the middle is the reentry module containing the crew which is a scaled-up version of the Soyuz descent module. The rear of the spacecraft is the service module which is equipped with engines, fuel tanks, and solar panels.[8]

Crew

Crew of Shenzhou 13 at the send-off ceremony ahead of their spaceflight

The crew was publicly announced in a press conference on 14 October 2021.[9]

PLASSF Major General Zhai Zhigang is a veteran of Shenzhou 7. Colonel Wang Yaping, who became the first woman to visit the Tiangong Space Station, previously flew on Shenzhou 10. Colonel Ye Guangfu makes his first flight to space.[9] If Shenzhou 13 completes the 180-day mission as planned, Wang will have spent about 195 days in space, setting a new record for a Chinese astronaut.

Position Crew member
Commander China Zhai Zhigang, PLAAC
Second spaceflight
Operator China Wang Yaping, PLAAC
Second spaceflight
System operator China Ye Guangfu, PLAAC
First spaceflight

Aftermath

The follow-up Tianzhou 4 unmanned cargo resupply mission is planned for launch sometime in March–April 2022 for the upcoming Shenzhou 14 mission.

The landing of the Shenzhou 13 crew is scheduled for spring 2022. A comprehensive evaluation of the two missions Shenzhou 12 and Shenzhou 13 will then take place. If necessary, the approval for the further expansion of the space station with the two science Laboratory Cabin Module Wentian and Mengtian will be granted.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "神舟十三号定于周六0时23分发射 新"太空出差三人组"包括一位女航天员". cn.reuters.com.
  2. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (1 March 2021). "China preparing to build Tiangong station in 2021, complete by 2022". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  3. ^ "中国航天进入空间站建造关键时期——访中国载人航天工程办公室主任郝淳". xinhuanet.com. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  4. ^ "空间站建造后续有四次载人飞行,航天员每次在轨驻留3至6个月". thepaper.cn. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  5. ^ Barbosa, Rui C. (1 March 2021). "China preparing to build Tiangong station in 2021, complete by 2022". NASASpaceFlight.com. Retrieved 1 March 2021.
  6. ^ "China launches Shenzhou 13 astronauts on historic mission to new space station". space.com. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  7. ^ "神舟十三号3名航天员顺利进驻天和核心舱". xinhua.news. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  8. ^ "China's Shenzhou 13 crew docks with space station for 6-month stay". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 16 October 2021.
  9. ^ a b "China unveils Shenzhou-13 crew for six-month space station mission".