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manned mission

manned mission

Shenzhou 9 space capsule returns to Earth.

1y ago
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Description

China's first female astronaut and two other crew members have received a hero's welcome after successfully completing a landmark mission for China's ambitious space programme. The trio emerged smiling from a capsule that returned safely to Earth after a 13-day mission to the orbiting Tiangong 1 module - a prototype for a future space station. Their Shenzhou 9 capsule, charred black from re-entry, parachuted to a landing on the grasslands of the country's sprawling Inner Mongolia region at about 10am (0200 GMT). About an hour later, mission commander and veteran astronaut Jing Haipeng, 45, emerged, followed by crew mates Liu Wang, 43, and 33-year-old Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut. The three, all experienced air force pilots, were lifted on to folding chairs and appeared in good health. They smiled, waved, chatted and saluted as state television ran live footage from the landing site. "Tiangong 1, our home in space, was comfortable and pleasant. We're very proud of our nation," Liu Yang told national broadcaster CCTV. Space programme commander, General Chang Wanchuan, declared the astronauts in good health and the mission "completely successful". He was followed by Premier Wen Jiabao, who said the mission marked "absolutely important progress" for the space programme. The mission had included both remote control and piloted dockings with the module and extensive medical monitoring of the astronauts as part of preparations for manning a permanent space station. China's next goals include another manned mission to the module originally scheduled for later this year, but which may be delayed depending on an evaluation of the Shenzhou 9 mission and the condition of the Tiangong 1.