Monday, 17 October 2005

Welcome Home

From the ABC :
China's second manned spacecraft, Shenzhou VI, has touched down successfully in Inner Mongolia after orbiting the Earth for five days.

Xinhua news agency reports the two astronauts are in good health after the space capsule touched down in the remote steppes of the northern Inner Mongolia region.

The astronauts have completed 76 orbits of the Earth and travelled millions of kilometres since Wednesday morning's launch of the mission.

"Our journey in space was very smooth," Mr Fei said. "The living and working conditions inside the cabin were very good. Our health is okay."

A member of one of the recovery teams reports the capsule landed upright after touching down just one kilometre from the intended landing site.

Emerging from the module, television pictures showed the two take a few seconds to adjust to the Earth's gravity.
Now that's significant. At a similar stage in the US and Soviet space programmes, they were lucky to hit the right ocean/continent, let alone make a lnding so close. And that it was close is evidenced by the TV pictures of them emerging, there wouldn't be time to relocate the TV crews quick enough if it had been far away.
Not that I'm suspicious of anything the Xinhua news agency says, of course.

Also significant is that they were in a "shirtsleeves" environment for much of the flight, not strapped in like the proverbial Spam-in-a-Can in the cramped Voskhods and decidedly snug Geminis.

Worth watching.

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