After spending six months constructing the Tiangong station, representing the nation’s ambitious space program, three Chinese astronauts finally touched down in a northern desert on Sunday, according to official television.
At around 8:10 p.m., a spacecraft carrying commander Chen Dong, astronauts Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe landed at a landing site in the Gobi Desert in northern China. (12:10 GMT), according to China Central Television.
They shared space with three colleagues who came on the Shenzhou-15 mission on Wednesday for their six-month stay nearly five days before their departure, making it the first time China had six astronauts in space simultaneously.
This month, the third and last module of the station docked with it.
About 40 minutes after the touchdown, medical personnel removed the astronauts from the capsule.
They waved joyfully to the employees at the landing site while wearing smiles and appearing to be in good health.
Chen, who was the first to leave the capsule, said, “I feel really lucky to have observed the completion of the fundamental structure of the Chinese space station after six hectic and gratifying months in orbit.
We came back to the motherland’s embrace like meteors.
Another astronaut, Liu, said she was moved to see her family and fellow citizens.
Additionally, they carried out three spacewalks, conducted several experiments, and streamed a live science lecture from the station.
The Tiangong is a component of China’s announced intentions to have a human-crewed space station in orbit permanently.
Following its exclusion from the International Space Station, China constructed its station, mainly due to U.S. concerns regarding China’s space programs’ tight ties to the People’s Liberation Army, the military wing of the country’s ruling Communist Party.
The Shenzhou-15 mission brought the station’s weight up to its maximum of 100 tons.
The International Space Station, which launched its first module in 1998 and weighed around 465 tons, is much heavier than the Chinese station, which weighs roughly 66 tons without any associated spacecraft.
If the International Space Station retires as anticipated by the end of the decade, Tiangong, with a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, maybe the only space station in existence at some point in the future.
After the former Soviet Union and the United States, China became the third government to launch an astronaut into orbit in 2003.
China has also succeeded in uncrewed missions; its Yutu 2 rover was the first to investigate the obscure far side of the moon.
For the first time since the 1970s, its Chang’e 5 probe will also return lunar materials to Earth in December 2020, and a different Chinese rover is looking for signs of life on Mars.
Although no timetable has been provided, officials are reportedly exploring a crewed expedition to the moon in the future.