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Shenzhou 8


Tyneside, UK
2018 Jan 20
Saturday, Day 20

Maintained by:









Return To Earth

From the begining of the mission, China indicated that it would last about 17 days. On November 15, Xinhua confirmed that the landing was due two days later in inner Mongolia, the standard Chinese landing zone for piloted spacecraft.


NOTAM for 2011 November 17

On November 15, Chineze aviation authorites issued a NOTAM (Notice To Airmen) for the Beijing air traffic zone covering an area of Mongolia:

A1707/11 - TEMPORARY RESTRICTED AREA ESTABLISHED: AN AREA BOUNDED BY N4314E10909-N4143E10915-N4211E11400-N4316E11352. ALL ACFT ARE PROHIBITED TO ENTER THE TEMPORARY RESTRICTED AREA. SFC - UNL, 17 NOV 11:14 2011 UNTIL 17 NOV 11:44 2011. CREATED: 15 NOV 08:52 2011

It was in force November 17 between 11:14 and 11:44 UTC, indicating a landing at around 11:30 UTC. Additionally, several air routes across Mongolia were closed for 50 minutes from 11:00 UTC. Presumably this was to avoid radio interference and conflicts between landing support flights and general air traffic.


Touchdown

Timings and measurements taken from the screen in the Beijing control centre during the live CCTV broadcast showed touchdown at 11:32:14 UTC ±2s, near 42°.2 north, 111°.3 east


Secondary Landing Site

Chinese news sources indicated that there was a backup landing zone in the Gobi desert, near the Jiuquan launch site, to cover the possibility of bad weather in the primary one. There is no information on the precise location but, looking at the re-entry track, it was near 40°.4 north, 99°.8 east.

It was about 1000 kilometers to the south-east of the primary site and directly backwards along the ground track. Touch down there would have occured about two and one quarter minutes earlier than for the primary site.

The secondary landing site probably served two purposes. In order to reach the primary zone, Shenzhou undertook a lifting re-entry to reduce gravitational loads on its occupants. As with a Soyuz re-entry, there was also a ballistic, higher-g, option that would have caused it to land short of the primary zone. The backup zone probably catered for this option too.


Ground Track


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