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China astronauts return from Tiangong space station
by AFP Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Dec 4, 2022

Astronaut Liu Yang is out of the return capsule of the Shenzhou XIV manned spaceship at the Dongfeng landing site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Dec 4, 2022.

Three Chinese astronauts safely returned to Earth on Sunday after six months aboard the Tiangong space station, state media quoted the country's space agency as saying, with their mission deemed a "complete success."

The team, which had been aboard the station since early June, touched down at the Dongfeng landing site in Inner Mongolia at 8:09 pm Beijing time (1209 GMT), Xinhua news agency said, citing the China Manned Space Agency.

Medical personnel said they were in good health, the report said.

The Tiangong space station is the crown jewel of Beijing's ambitious space programme -- which has landed robotic rovers on Mars and the Moon, and made the country the third to put humans in orbit -- as it looks to catch up with the United States and Russia.

The three Shenzhou-14 astronauts -- mission commander Chen Dong, China's first woman astronaut Liu Yang and teammate Cai Xuzhe -- had been tasked with overseeing the final stages of construction of the space station.

The last module successfully docked with Tiangong's core structure last month, state media said -- a key step in its completion by year's end.

"I am honored to witness the formation of our space station's basic configuration," said Chen, an air force pilot who became the first Chinese astronaut to stay in orbit for more than 200 days, according to Xinhua.

The team has handed the baton to the Shenzhou-15 crew -- China's first crew handover in orbit.

China has been excluded from the International Space Station since 2011, when the United States banned NASA from engaging with the country.

Once completed, the Tiangong space station is expected to have a mass of 90 tonnes -- around a quarter of the ISS -- or similar in size to the Soviet-built Mir station that orbited Earth from the 1980s until 2001.

Tiangong, which means "heavenly palace", will operate for around a decade and host a variety of experiments in near-zero gravity.

Chinese astronauts return to Earth after 'basic construction' of country's space station
Washington DC (UPI) Dec 4, 2021 - A crew of three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday after carrying out "basic construction" on the country's new space station.

The astronauts -- Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzhe -- safely exited the Shenzhou 14 spacecraft after completing a 182-day mission to the Tiangong space station, according to the national broadcaster China Central Television.

The astronauts landed at the Dongfeng landing site in the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia as the recovery team rushed to cut the spacecraft's parachute line by hand, which is normally severed automatically after landing to avoid dragging the capsule.

It marked the second landing at Dongfeng, according to Space Flight Now.

The China National Space Administration successfully launched the Shenzhou 15 mission on Nov. 29, the fourth manned mission in the program.

"The crew of the astronauts was in good condition and the launch was a complete success," CNSA said in a statement at the time.

"During the working and living period of the space station, the crew of astronauts will carry out multiple out-of-cabin activities to complete various tasks such as installation, commissioning, maintenance and repair of equipment inside and outside the cabin, assembly management, and space science and technology experiments."

Related Links
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com

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China ready to implement moon landing project
Jiuquan, China (XNA) Dec 01, 2022
China has made breakthroughs in the development of the new-generation crewed spaceship, new-generation manned carrier rocket, moon lander, and moon landing spacesuit, stepping closer to its moon landing goal, according to the China Manned Space Agency on Monday. China has completed key technology research and validation of the manned lunar exploration project, forming a moon landing implementation plan with "Chinese characteristics," said Ji Qiming, an assistant to the agency's director, at a pres ... read more

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