The Shenzhou-13 return capsule, carrying the three Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts, Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu, safely landed back on Earth on Saturday morning after a record breaking six-month mission in space.
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The capsule touched down at the Dongfeng landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at about 9:56 a.m. after a journey of about nine hours from the country's space station.
China declared the Shenzhou-13 mission a complete success after the medical team waiting on site confirmed that all three astronauts were in good health.
Zhai, the commander of the mission, was the first to come out of the capsule, waving his hand to the cheering crowd on site with a big smile. He said he felt very good. He was followed by Wang, the first female astronaut who had entered China's space station.
During the six-month journey in the space station, the crew verified key technologies for the construction of the space station, including in-orbit transposition of spacecraft and robotic arm operation of heavy loads, which accumulated valuable experience for the subsequent in-orbit assembly and construction of the space station.
Two spacewalks were carried out by the crew. On November 7, 2021, Wang became the first female astronaut to conduct a spacewalk.
During the year, China will first launch the Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft followed by the Shenzhou-14 crewed spaceship, with Tianzhou-4 set to deliver supplies for the Shenzhou-14 crew. During their stay, two lab modules, Wentian and Mengtian, will be sent successively into space.
Each lab module will first dock with the front docking port of the core module and will be transferred by the space station's robotic arm to the side docking ports on each side of the core module.
A T-shape complex will then be formed, at which point the construction of the space station would be complete.