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Chinese astronauts land back on Earth after six-month mission

State TV reported that three Chinese astronauts have returned to Earth after spending six months building the Tiangong station.

According to China Central Television, Commander Chen Dong and astronauts Liu Yang (northern China) touched down in a capsule on a landing site in Gobi Desert at 12.10 pm.

The astronauts stayed with three of their colleagues on the Shenzhou-15 mission, which arrived earlier this week. They were each staying for six months.

This was the first time that six Chinese astronauts were in space simultaneously.

Image The ground crew inspects the astronauts in the re-entry capsule

The astronauts were evacuated by medical personnel around 40 minutes after they landed. They appeared happy and in good spirits, waving at workers at the landing area.

Chen was the first to get out of the capsule. He said that he was very lucky to witness the construction of the basic structure for the Chinese space station. This came after six long and rewarding months in space.

“Like meteors we returned to the embrace the motherland.”

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Ms Liu, another astronaut, also recalled how touched she was to be able to visit relatives and work colleagues.

These three astronauts were part of the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft, which was launched in June.

The astronauts were responsible for five rendezvous and dockings with different spacecraft during their time at Tiangong. One of these was carrying the station’s third module.

They also performed a variety of experiments and three spacewalks.

Image Astronaut Liu Yang being carried out of the capsule.

Tiangong is part China’s plans to have a permanent human presence on orbit. It’s a milestone in China’s three-decade-long manned space program, which was approved for the first time in 1992.

It weighs in at around 66 tonnes and is not attached to any spacecraft. If the ISS retires around the end of this decade, it could be the last space station standing.

The astronauts returned to a country that was engulfed by protests in recent days, as patience runs out due to the strict COVID restrictions of the communist regime.

As a result, some cities have seen their lockdown rules eased.


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