The Chinese Shenzhou 13 Space Capsule Landed in Inner Mongolia’s Gobi Desert
Bejing — Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Saturday after spending six months aboard Chin’s newest orbital station. This was the longest crewed mission of the ambitious Chinese space program.
The state TV showed the Shenzhou 13 space capsule landing in the Gobi desert in the northern region of Inner Mongolia.
During the mission, astronaut Wang Yaping became the first Chinese woman to spacewalk. Wang and her crewmates Zhai Zhigang and Ye Guangfu engaged school students with beamed back physics lessons beamed from the space station.
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In 2003, China sent its first manned mission into space. The missions landed robot rovers on the moon in 2013 and on Mars last year. Chinese officials have discussed the possibility of landing a crewed mission on the moon.
The state TV showed footage from inside the capsule as it traveled at 200 meters per second over Africa before entering the atmosphere.
This trio was the second crew aboard the Heavenly Palace, space station Tiangong. Tianhe, it’s core module, was launched in April 2021. Plans call for completing construction this year by adding two more modules.
China is the third country only to launch its astronaut into space after the United States and the former Soviet Union. Following its predecessors launched in 2011 and 2016, Tiangong is China’s third space station.
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The government announced in 2020 that China’s first reusable spacecraft had landed after a test flight but did not release any photos or details of the vehicle.
On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping visited the launch site in Wenchang on the southern island of Hainan, which launched the Tianhe module into orbit.
“Persist in pursuing the frontiers of world aerospace development and the major strategic needs of national aerospace,” Xi told staff wearing military uniforms.