China’s manned spaceflight Shenzhou-11 began its return to the Earth on Thursday after separating from the Tiangong-2 space laboratory, where it had remained docked for the last one month. The space capsule manned by astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, disconnected from the Tiangong-2 at 4.41 a.m., and is scheduled to land on the Earth on Friday. Also Read - ISRO Spy Satellite to launch on December 11 along with 9 other satellites
The Shenzhou-11 is expected to remain in space near the laboratory until it receives an order from the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and land, Efe news reported. Jing and Chen departed aboard the Shenzhou-11 from the launch pad in Jiuquan in the Gobi desert on October 17 and docked at the space lab two days later. Also Read - First-ever image of 'monster' black hole captured
Since then the astronauts have been working and living in the Tiangong-2 that was launched in September, and where they conducted several scientific experiments and advanced preparations for the operation of a future Chinese space station, which is expected to be fully operational by 2022.
The Tiangong-2 will remain in its orbit, some 393 km from the Earth’s surface, until it docks with the Tianzhou-1, scheduled to be launched in April 2017.