A trio of Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Friday after a 90-day stay aboard their nation’s first space station in China’s longest mission yet.

Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo landed in the Shenzhou-12 spaceship just after 1:30 p.m. local time after having undocked from the space station Thursday morning.

State broadcaster CCTV showed footage of the spacecraft parachuting to land in the Gobi Desert where it was met by helicopters and off-road vehicles. Minutes later, a crew of technicians began opening the hatch of the capsule, which appeared undamaged.

The three astronauts emerged about 30 minutes later and were seated in reclining chairs just outside the capsule to allow them time to readjust to Earth’s gravity after three months of living in a weightless environment. The three were due to fly to Beijing on Friday.

“With China’s growing strength and the rising level of Chinese technology, I firmly believe there will even more astronauts who will set new records,” mission commander Nie told CCTV.

After launching on June 17, the three astronauts went on two spacewalks, deployed a 10-metre mechanical arm and had a video call with Communist Party leader Xi Jinping.

Chinese astronauts from left, Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng and Liu Boming wave at the Dongfeng landing site in northern China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region on Friday in this photo released by Xinhua News Agency. (Ju Zhenhua/Xinhua/The Associated Press)

While few details have been made public by China’s military, which runs the space program, astronaut trios are expected to be brought on 90-day missions to the station over the next two years to make it fully functional.

The government has not announced the names of the next set of astronauts nor the launch date of Shenzhou-13.

Source of national pride

China has sent 14 astronauts into space since 2003, when it became only the third country after the former Soviet Union and the United States to do so on its own.

China’s space program has advanced at a measured pace and has largely avoided many of the problems that marked the U.S. and Russian programs that were locked in intense competition during the heady early days of spaceflight.

That has made it a source of enormous national pride, complementing the country’s rise to economic, technological, military and diplomatic prominence in recent years under the firm rule of the Communist Party and current leader Xi Jinping.

WATCH |Chinese astronauts blast off, dock at space station:

Chinese astronauts blast off, dock with space stationChina has successfully launched a 3-person crew to its new space station, marking another milestone in the country’s ambitious space program. 0:48

China embarked on its own space station program in the 1990s after being excluded from the International Space Station, largely due to U.S. objections to the Chinese space program’s secrecy and military backing.

Space probe on Mars

China has simultaneously pushed ahead with uncrewed missions, placing a rover on the little-explored far side of the Moon and, in December, the Chang’e 5 probe returned lunar rocks to Earth for the first time since the 1970s.

A giant screen shows a news broadcast of the astronauts of the Shenzhou-12 mission inside the core module Tianhe of the Chinese space station on Thursday, before returning to Earth. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

China this year also landed its Tianwen-1 space probe on Mars, with its accompanying Zhurong rover venturing out to look for evidence of life.

Another program calls for collecting samples from an asteroid, an area in which Japan’s rival space program has made progress of late.

China also plans to dispatch another mission in 2024 to bring back lunar samples and is pursuing a possible crewed mission to the moon and eventually building a scientific base there, although no timeline has been proposed for such projects. A highly secretive space plane is also reportedly under development.


Source From CBC News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up for Our Newsletters

Get notified of the fresh news from Montrealecodaily.com

You May Also Like

Ancient Crusades-era sword found by diver off coast of Israel

An Israeli scuba diver has salvaged an ancient sword off the country’s…

Record 21 humpback calves spotted in Salish Sea over feeding season as whale numbers rebound

A record number of humpback whale calves have been spotted in the…

23 species, including ivory-billed woodpecker, declared extinct in U.S.

Death’s come knocking a last time for the splendid ivory-billed woodpecker and…

Hundreds of migrating songbirds crash into New York City skyscrapers

Hundreds of birds migrating through New York City this week died after…