3 Chinese astronauts return to Earth after 6-month mission

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BEIJING — Three Chinese astronauts landed in a northern desert on Sunday after six months working to finish development of the Tiangong station, an emblem of the nation’s bold area program, state TV reported.

A capsule carrying commander Chen Dong and astronauts Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe touched down at a touchdown website within the Gobi Desert in northern China at roughly 8:10 p.m. (1210 GMT), China Central Tv reported.

Previous to departure, they overlapped for nearly 5 days with three colleagues who arrived Wednesday on the Shenzhou-15 mission for their very own six-month keep, marking the primary time China had six astronauts in area on the similar time. The station’s third and remaining module docked with the station this month.

The astronauts have been carried out of the capsule by medical employees about 40 minutes after landing. They have been all smiles, and gave the impression to be in good situation, waving fortunately at employees on the touchdown website.

“I am very fortunate to have witnessed the completion of the basic structure of the Chinese space station after six busy and fulfilling months in space,” mentioned Chen, who was the primary to exit the capsule. “Like meteors, we returned to the embrace of the motherland.”

Liu, one other of the astronauts, mentioned that she was moved to see family members and her fellow compatriots.

The three astronauts have been a part of the Shenzhou-14 mission, which launched in June. After their arrival at Tiangong, Chen, Liu and Cai oversaw 5 rendezvous and dockings with varied spacecraft together with one carrying the third of the station’s three modules.

Additionally they carried out three spacewalks, beamed down a dwell science lecture from the station, and performed a variety of experiments.

The Tiangong is a part of official Chinese plans for a everlasting human presence in orbit.

China constructed its personal station after it was excluded from the Worldwide Area Station, largely on account of U.S. objections over the Chinese area packages’ shut ties to the Folks’s Liberation Military, the navy wing of the ruling Communist Celebration.

With the arrival of the Shenzhou-15 mission, the station expanded to its most weight of 100 tons.

With out hooked up spacecraft, the Chinese station weighs about 66 tons — a fraction of the Worldwide Area Station, which launched its first module in 1998 and weighs round 465 tons.

With a lifespan of 10 to fifteen years, Tiangong may at some point be the one area station nonetheless up and operating if the Worldwide Area Station retires by across the finish of the last decade as anticipated.

China in 2003 turned the third authorities to ship an astronaut into orbit by itself after the previous Soviet Union and america.

China has additionally chalked up uncrewed mission successes: Its Yutu 2 rover was the primary to discover the little-known far aspect of the moon. Its Chang’e 5 probe additionally returned lunar rocks to Earth in December 2020 for the primary time for the reason that Nineteen Seventies, and one other Chinese rover is looking for proof of life on Mars.

Officers are reported to be contemplating an eventual crewed mission to the moon, though no timeline has been supplied.

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