(CTN NEWS) – On Sunday, three Chinese astronauts touched down in a desert in the country’s north after spending the previous six months building the Tiangong station, a representation of the nation’s ambitious space program.
China Central Television said that at around 8:10 p.m. (1210 GMT), a spacecraft carrying commander Chen Dong and Chinese Astronauts Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe landed at a landing location in the Gobi Desert in northern China.
Three Chinese astronauts landed back on earth on Sunday on board the re-entry capsule of the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft, state broadcaster CCTV reported, bringing to an end a six-month mission on China's space station. https://t.co/W1Zwf7tLUf
— Reuters Science News (@ReutersScience) December 4, 2022
For the first time, China sent six Chinese Astronauts into space at once when they spent nearly five days in space alongside three colleagues who arrived on the Shenzhou-15 mission on Wednesday for their six-month stay.
This month, the third and last module of the station docked with it.
Medical personnel removed the Chinese Astronauts about 40 minutes after landing from the capsule. They waved joyfully to the employees at the landing site while wearing smiles and appearing to be in good health.
“After six active and rewarding months in orbit, I am incredibly lucky to have seen the basic framework of the Chinese space station come to completion,” said Chen, who was the first to leave the capsule.
“We came back to the motherland’s embrace like meteors.”
Another astronaut, Liu, said, “she was moved to see her family and countrymen.”
The three Chinese Astronauts took part in the June launch of the Shenzhou-14 mission.
Chen, Liu, and Cai oversaw five rendezvous and dockings with various spacecraft following their arrival at Tiangong, one carrying the third of the station’s three modules.
Additionally, they carried out three spacewalks, conducted several experiments, and streamed a live science lecture from the station.
The Tiangong is a component of China’s announced intentions to have a manned space station in orbit.
Following its exclusion from the International Space Station, China constructed its station largely because of U.S. concerns.
Regarding China’s space programs’ tight ties to the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the country’s ruling Communist Party.
The Shenzhou-15 mission brought the station’s weight up to its maximum of 100 tonnes.
The International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998 and weighed around 465 tonnes, is much heavier than the Chinese station, which weighs roughly 66 tonnes without any associated spacecraft.
If the International Space Station retires as anticipated by the end of the decade, Tiangong, with a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, maybe the only space station in existence at some point in the future.
After the former Soviet Union and the United States, China became the third government to launch an astronaut into orbit in 2003.
China has also achieved success in unmanned missions; its Yutu 2 rover was the first to investigate the obscure far side of the moon.
For the first time since the 1970s, its Chang’e 5 probe will also return lunar materials to Earth in December 2020, and a different Chinese rover is looking for signs of life on Mars.
Although no timetable has been provided, officials are reportedly exploring a crewed expedition to the moon in the future.
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