Shenzhou 10 is slated to carry astronauts to occupy the
Tiangong 1 laboratory before returning them to Earth.

Welcome Aboard Shenzhou 10

by Morris Jones for SpaceDaily.com
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Feb 15, 2013

As we approach the launch of China’s next human space mission, some questions still remain unanswered. This is not unusual for the relatively veiled nature of China’s space program, but it does invite speculation. What exactly will we see when Shenzhou 10, the next spacecraft to fly, lifts off?

We can make some fairly strong assumptions about the Shenzhou spacecraft itself. The vehicle probably has no major differences from Shenzhou 9, the mission that carried three astronauts to China’s Tiangong 1 space laboratory in 2012. China seems to have frozen the basic design of Shenzhou, but there could be some minor (and invisible) changes to some of its sub-systems.

There could be improvements to the software or some minor mechanical or electrical parts. China has said nothing about improvements to the spacecraft in recent months, which contrasts with the way that previous upgrades were sometimes proudly advertised, even if details on the upgrades themselves were not provided.

The landing of Shenzhou 9 was safe but rough, with the descent module flipping over after its retrorockets fired. It’s possible that something has been done to reduce the chances of this happening again.

Like its Shenzhou 9 predecessor, Shenzhou 10 is slated to carry astronauts to occupy the Tiangong 1 laboratory before returning them to Earth.

China has stated that Shenzhou 10 will carry additional logistics to permit a longer stay aboard Tiangong 1 than the previous expedition.

Read more: Welcome Aboard Shenzhou 10 — Space Daily

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