Shenzhou 10 Explained: Chinese Astronauts Head to Space Lab (Infographic)

Infographic: China's second female astronaut and two crewmates will spend 15 days in space.
The capsule carrying China's second female astronaut and two crewmates will spend 15 days in space. (Image credit: Karl Tate, Infographics Artist)

Three Chinese astronauts will fly a 15-day mission to inhabit the Tiangong 1 space station. China’s second female astronaut, Wang Yaping, will give lectures to middle and elementary school students while in orbit.

Nie Haisheng is the mission's commander. Born in 1964, he flew on Shenzhou 6 in 2005.

Wang Yaping is China’s second female astronaut. She was born in 1980.

Zhang Xiaoguang is the mission’s pilot, responsible for conducting the rendezvous and docking with the Tiangong station. He was born in 1966.

The Shenzhou 10 spacecraft consists of three main modules. The Re-entry module houses the three astronauts for launch and landing.

The Orbital module on the nose of the spacecraft can be left in space to operate automatically after the astronauts return to Earth.

In the rear of Shenzhou is the Service module, containing fuel and the main rocket engines.

The Tiangong 1 station orbits at an altitude of 221 to 225 miles (356 to 362 kilometers) and an inclination to Earth’s equator of 42 degrees.

Shenzhou 10 launches on a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan satellite launch center in the Gobi Desert on June 11, 2013, at 5:38 p.m., Beijing time (5:38 a.m. EDT, 0938 GMT).

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Karl Tate contributor

Karl's association with goes back to 2000, when he was hired to produce interactive Flash graphics. From 2010 to 2016, Karl worked as an infographics specialist across all editorial properties of Purch (formerly known as TechMediaNetwork).  Before joining, Karl spent 11 years at the New York headquarters of The Associated Press, creating news graphics for use around the world in newspapers and on the web.  He has a degree in graphic design from Louisiana State University and now works as a freelance graphic designer in New York City.