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UPDATED: June 14, 2013
Astronauts of Shenzhou-10 Spacecraft Enter Tiangong-1 Orbiter

The astronauts of the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft entered space module Tiangong-1 on Thursday afternoon, said the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

The three astronauts -- Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping -- opened the hatch of Tiangong-1 at 4:17 p.m. on Thursday, after the spacecraft completed an automated docking procedure with the orbiting Tiangong-1 at 1:18 p.m. on Thursday.

After a series of preparations, the three astronauts entered the orbital compartment of the Shenzhou-10, taking off their intravehicular mobility unit spacesuits and changing into blue-colored jumpsuits.

The BACC ordered them to enter Tiangong-1 after staff on the ground checked the intravehicular environment of the space module.

With the help of Zhang, Nie successfully opened the hatch of Tiangong-1, then the three astronauts entered it one by one in a floating state, and waved their hands to staff on the ground through a camera in Tiangong-1.

They will conduct a number of scientific and technical experiments during the flight, in a bid to gather experience for future space station.

The docking procedure was the fifth between Shenzhou-type spacecraft and Tiangong-1. Previous dockings included two automated operations by the unmanned Shenzhou-8 in 2011 and both an automated and manual docking by the manned Shenzhou-9 in 2012.

The Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, which was launched on Tuesday afternoon from northwest China's Gobi desert, began to approach Tiangong-1 automatically at 10:48 a.m. on Thursday and made contact with the space module at 1:11 p.m.

(Xinhua News Agency June 13, 2013)


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