Landing Coverage for China's Shenzhou 6 Spaceflight

Landing Coverage for China's Shenzhou 6 Spaceflight
Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng, with the help of workers, gets out of the re-entry capsule of China's second manned spacecraft, Shenzhou-6, after landing in Siziwang Banner (County), north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Monday, Oct. 17, 2005. (Image credit: AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhao Jianwei.)

6:30 p.m. EDT

China's Xinhua News Agency states that Shenzhou 6 astronaut Nie Haisheng has a healthy appetite after his five-day spaceflight with crewmate Fei Junlong, and eating instant noodles during his medical checks.

A wrap up story of China's Shenzhou 6 landing can be found here.

6:18 p.m. EDT

With their mission over, Shenzhou 6 astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng are enjoying chocolate and herbal tea as they undergo medical checks aboard their recovery helicopter, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

6:09 p.m. EDT

While the two Shenzhou6 astronauts undergo medical checks aboard a recovery helicopter, theirspacecraft's orbital module - which was jettisoned before landing - is performingwell in orbit, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

5:45 p.m. EDT

After five days in space, Chineseastronauts FeiJunlongand NieHaishengaboard the Shenzhou6 spacecraft landed safely on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia at 4:32 p.m. EDT(2032 GMT, 4:32 a.m. Beijing Time).

Both astronauts have exited theirspacecraft and were immediately presented with flowers and seated in chairs.They waved as they stepped down from the spacecraft, then again together withtheir feet firmly planted back on Earth.

Video of their egress was broadcaston China Central Television (CCTV)

Fei thanked the audience and themotherland for their support during the mission during the live broadcast.

Additional medical checkups areunderway, CCTV reports.

Here is a rundown of Shenzhou6's landing operations to date with most recent activities first:

5:18 p.m. EDT (5:18 a.m. Oct. 17Beijing Time): Medical check ups of Shenzhou 6 crew underway

4:52 p.m. EDT (4:52 a.m. Oct. 17Beijing Time) - Recovery helicopters arrive at Shenzhou 6landing site in Siziwang Banner region of Inner Mongolia.

4:32:50 - Shenzhou 6lands safely one kilometer from its target site.

4:30 p.m. - Shenzhou 6deploys its red, blue and white, 1,200 square-meter parachutes.

4:13 p.m. - The spacecraft enters acommunications black out period as it reenters the Earth's atmosphere.

4:07 p.m. - Shenzhou 6jettisons its orbital module.

4:02 p.m. - Astronauts FeiJunlongand NieHaishengreport all is well aboard SHenzhou 6.

3:59 p.m. - Shenzhou 6astronauts and Fei Junlong and Nie Haishenghave done their spacesuits and strapped themselves into their chairs forreentry.

5:25 p.m. EDT

Chinese astronaut FeiJunlongwill exit the Shenzhou 6 spacecraft first, China's Xinhua News Agency reports. Fei's crewmate NieHaishengwill likely soon follow.

5:20 p.m. EDT

Medical checks of Shenzhou6 astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng are underway at their Inner Mongolialanding site, China Central Television (CCTV) reports.

Recovery crewshave opened the spacecraft's hatch, China's official Xinhua News Agency said, adding that Shenzhou 6landed about six kilometers away from the touchdown spot of Shenzhou5 - China's first manned spacecraft.

Shenzhou 5 launched onOct. 15, 2003, sending astronaut Yang Liwei on a 211/2 -hour, 14 orbit before landing in the SiziwangBanner region of Inner Mongolia in northern China. China is the third countryto build and launch humans into orbit. Shenzhou 6 isthe country's second manned spaceflight and its first to carry two astronauts.

5:08 p.m. EDT

Medicalteams are still enroute to Shenzhou 6's landing site, whichis about one kilometer from its original target, according to China's statetelevision and print media reports.

Initialrecovery teams have already reached the spacecraft, where astronauts Fei Junlong and NieHaisheng have returned from a five-daymission. They are reportedly in good health after a safe landing, according toChina's official Xinhua News Agency.

Flightcontrollers at China's Beijing Aerospace Control and Command Center were shownapplauding on China Central Television (CCTV) after hearing of Shenzhou6's successful landing.

5:00 p.m. EDT

The Shenzhou6 reentry capsule landed upright at its Inner Mongolia landing site, accordingto reports from a recovery helicopter pilot, China's official XinhuaNews Agency reports.

4:52 p.m. EDT

Shenzhou 6astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng report that they are in "good health" aftera "safe landing," Xinhua News Agencyreports.

Recovery helicopters have landed near the spacecraft's landing site,which is reportedly not far from its original target, China Central Television(CCTV) reports.

4:42 p.m. EDT

China's Shenzhou6 spacecraft and its two-astronaut crew have safely returned to Earth after anon-time Sunday landing on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia.

Shenzhou6 astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haishenglanded at 4:32:50 p.m. EDT (22032:50 GMT, 0432:50 Oct. 17 Beijing Time) in the SiziwangBanner region of Inner Mongolia in north China, China Central Television (CCTV)reported, adding that aside from high winds weather at the landing site wasfavorable.

Theastronauts told flight controllers that they were "feeling good" and that themain parachutes performed well, China's official XinhuaNews Agency reported.

 Sixhelicopters, 14 special vehicles and more than 200 recovery workers have beenmobilized for Shenzhou 6's return at its primary landing site,according to Sui Qisheng, chief commander incharge of landing, Xinhua reported.

"We have drawn out detailed plansto ensure that rescue workers and equipment will arrive at where the capsulelands," Sui told Xinhua before the landing.

Feiand Nieorbited the Earth since launchingspaceward atop a Long March 2F rocket on Oct. 12 Beijing Time (Oct. 11 GMT).Their mission marks China's second manned spaceflight since the launch ofastronaut Yang Liwei aboard Shenzhou5 in 2003, as well as the country's first two-astronaut mission. China isthe third country to independently launch astronauts into Earth orbit afterRussia and the U.S. Its Shenzhou- or "Divine Vessel" - series spacecraft borrow a basic design from Russia's Soyuzspacecraft, but are heavily modified and modernized.

The Shenzhou6 crew flew more than 1.8 million miles (2.8 million kilometers) and orbitedthe Earth more than 71 times during their spaceflight, China's state mediareported.

Fei and Nie haveperformed a series of physical experiments to test the integrity of theirspacecraft, as well as cytology, earth observation and human physiology tests, Xinhuasaid.

The twoastronauts - also known as "taikonauts" - said Sunday thatthey appreciated the support of their country, state media reported.

"We're grateful for the deep loveand concern by all Chinese people, the Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwancompatriots," Nie said in a space-to-groundtransmission, according to Xinhua.

Feireportedly added that he and Nie were "feeling good" and "happy"in Earth orbit and planned to "do our utmost to fulfill the mission," the newsagency added.

The Shenzhou 6spaceflight is designed to further China's human spaceflight experience as itworks toward developing a mannedspace station and serve as a symbol of national pride while demonstratingthe country's technological prowess.

State media reports also cited China'splans to select femaleastronauts for future missions.

China's Air Force AeronauticsUniversity accepted its eighth group of female pilot trainees in July, and may provethe source of the country's first female fighter pilots and first femaleastronaut, Xinhua said Saturday, adding that some studentsare hopeful they'll make the cut.

"Mydream is to become China's first female fighter pilot and first female taikonaut,"Tao Jiali,a student from southwest China's Sichuan Province to the university, told XinhuaSaturday.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.