The astronauts bid their farewells on Thursday to the Tiangong-1 space lab module, their home for 10 days, and prepared to return home on Friday.
They completed a manual undocking with Tiangong-1 on Thursday morning. The Shenzhou IX re-entry capsule is scheduled to return to Earth at around 10 am on Friday, Wu Ping, spokeswoman for the manned space program, said on Thursday.
The capsule, carrying astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and China's first female astronaut Liu Yang, will land in the central part of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Yang Zhijie, deputy director of the Inner Mongolia Weather Bureau, said it is the first time that a manned spacecraft will land in the region during the summer. Three earlier manned space missions all returned in the autumn."
The landing area has unpredictable weather in June and thunderstorms, gales and hailstones are not uncommon," he said. Fortunately, according to the weather forecast, conditions at the landing site will be suitable on Friday.
The National Center for Space Weather also forecast that solar activity this week will not affect communications between the vessel and Earth.
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