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Shenzhou XVI crew safely lands on Earth after five-month mission

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发表于 2023-10-31 16:51:04 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
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The return capsule of the Shenzhou XVI manned spaceship touches down at the Dongfeng landing site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Oct 31, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Shenzhou XVI mission crew returned to Earth on Tuesday morning, concluding a historic, five-month mission that involved the first Chinese civilian astronaut.

The Shenzhou XVI spacecraft's reentry capsule, carrying the three astronauts — mission commander Major General Jing Haipeng, Colonel Zhu Yangzhu and Professor Gui Haichao — touched down at 8:11 am at the Dongfeng Landing Site in Gobi Desert in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region after flying nearly 12 hours on the return journey.

Following safety checks outside the capsule, ground recovery personnel opened the hatch of the bell-shaped vehicle and conducted a preliminary examination of the astronauts' condition.

Sitting inside the capsule, Jing told ground controllers in Beijing via radio that his team had landed safely and were "feeling pretty good".

They will soon be carried out from the capsule and transferred to medical-support vans for further examinations.

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The return capsule of the Shenzhou XVI manned spaceship touches down at the Dongfeng landing site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Oct 31, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Jing's team entered the Tiangong station on May 30. Their journey was China's 11th manned spaceflight and the fifth crewed mission to the Tiangong space station.

The journey was the debut flight of China's third generation of astronauts, and the first time a Chinese civilian has traveled into space.

Jing and Zhu are members of the People's Liberation Army's Astronaut Division, while Gui is a doctoral supervisor at the Department of Spacecraft and Launch Vehicle Technology of Beihang University's School of Astronautics in Beijing.

Moreover, the Shenzhou XVI mission had become Jing's fourth spaceflight, making him China's most experienced astronaut.

In the next six months, the Tiangong station will be manned by the Shenzhou XVII trio — mission commander Senior Colonel Tang Hongbo, Lieutenant Colonel Tang Shengjie and Lieutenant Colonel Jiang Xinlin — who arrived at the colossal flying outpost on Thursday evening.

Before setting out on their return trip, Jing's team handed over their work to the new crew and sorted and transferred materials between the station and their spaceship.

They left the Tiangong station at 8:37 pm Monday. After some orbital maneuvers, their spaceship re-entered the atmosphere on Tuesday morning.

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The return capsule of the Shenzhou XVI manned spaceship touches down at the Dongfeng landing site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Oct 31, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

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The return capsule of the Shenzhou XVI manned spaceship touches down at the Dongfeng landing site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Oct 31, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]


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