Three Chinese astronauts have returned to Earth after completing a six-month mission in orbit.
The Shenzhou-14 spacecraft’s re-entry capsule landed successfully at the Dongfeng site in north China’s autonomous region of Inner Mongolia at 8.09 p.m. (local time) on December 4, 2022, according to a statement issued to Xinhua News Agency by the China Manned Space Engineering Office.
The spacecraft crew was made up of Chinese astronauts Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe.
During the mission, which was launched on June 5, 2022, the astronauts “carried out three out-of-cabin activities, completed the installation of the space station’s internal and external equipment” as well as “carried out a series of space science experiments, and technical tests”. The crew also “welcomed visits of two space station cabins, a single manned spacecraft, and one cargo spacecraft,” the China Manned Space Engineering Office explained.
China has been pushing space exploration boundaries on its own over the past three decades.
The recent mission is part of the China Manned Space Program (CMS), which is being managed by the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA). The program, which was approved by the local government in 1992, is considered one of the most complex Chinese space programs dedicated to completing the construction of China’s space station, the final goal of China’s “three-step” human space program initiated 30 years ago.