Astronauts return to Earth after China’s longest space mission

Astronauts return to Earth after China's longest space mission
File photo of Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng, and Liu Boming at a departure ceremony. Source: Getty Images
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Daily US Times: Three Chinese astronauts have returned to Earth after completing China’s longest crewed space mission.

The astronauts spent three months at the Tianhe module on China’s space station, some 380km above Earth.

On Thursday, they had boarded the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft and undocked from the space station.

The successful space mission is another demonstration of China’s growing confidence and capability in the space domain.

Tang Honbo, Liu Boming and Nie Haisheng touched down in the Gobi desert in Inner Mongolia at around 05:35 GMT (13:35 local time) on Friday.

They had started the space mission on 17 June, and had lifted off from the same desert.

While in space, the three astronauts completed various important tasks including conducting hours-long spacewalks and transmitting experiment data back to Earth, China’s Global Times reports.

The core module of the Chinese space station is said to have separate living spaces for each astronaut and a space gym equipped with a specifically designed bicycle and treadmill, the Global Times reported.

In recent years, China has made strides in its space ambitions. In 2019, it became the first country to send a robotic rover to the far side of the Moon.

But it had to develop its own space station, in part because it has now been allowed the International Space Station project.

The United States, which leads that partnership with Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada, will not co-operate with China in orbit.

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