Chinese astronauts land on Earth after China’s longest manned space mission
Chinese astronauts land on Earth after China’s longest manned space mission

Chinese astronauts land on Earth after China’s longest manned space mission

SHANGHAI, April 16 (Reuters) – Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Saturday after 183 days in space, state television reported, completing the country’s longest manned space mission to date.

The astronauts landed nine hours after leaving a key module in China’s first space station.

While in orbit, Shenzhou-13 mission astronauts manually took control of the Tianhe housing module for what state media called a “docking experiment” with the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft.

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Following their launch in October, astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Ye Guangfu and female crew member Wang Yaping spent 183 days in space, completing the fifth of 11 missions needed to complete the space station before the end of the year.

A child stands near a giant screen showing the image of the Tianhe space station on the country’s space day at the China Science and Technology Museum in Beijing, China on April 24, 2021. REUTERS / Tingshu Wang / File Photo

Shenzhou-13 was the second of four planned crew missions to complete the construction of the space station, which began in April last year. Shenzhou-12 returned to Earth in September.

China’s next two missions will be the Tianzhou-4, a cargo spacecraft, and the three-person Shenzhou-14 mission, Shao Limin, deputy chief technology officer for the Manned Spaceship System, was quoted by state media as saying.

Excluded from the United States from participating in the International Space Station (ISS) in orbit, China has spent the past decade developing technologies to build its own space station, the only one in the world other than the ISS.

China, which aims to become a spacecraft by 2030, has successfully launched probes to explore Mars and became the first country to land a spacecraft on the other side of the Moon.

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Reporting by Liangping Gao in Beijing and Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Editing Raju Gopalakrishnan

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