©Health & Fitness Journal. FILE PHOTO: Rocket launch at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center near Jiuquan, Gansu province, China, October 16, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins
By Martin Quin Pollard
BEIJING (Health & Fitness Journal) – Three Chinese astronauts landed back on Earth on Sunday aboard the re-entry capsule of the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft, state broadcaster CCTV reported, ending a six-month mission on China’s space station.
The three astronauts – Commander Chen Dong and teammates Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe – who oversaw the last, crucial phase of construction of the space station, which was completed in November, all said they felt comfortable after landing.
The capsule landed at 20:09 (1209 GMT) at the Dongfeng site in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, with space agency officials calling the entire mission, which began on June 5, a “complete success,” CCTV reported.
One by one, landing site staff carried the exhausted-looking crew out and by just after 9 p.m. all three had safely exited the capsule, CCTV reported.
A new crew of three other Chinese astronauts arrived at the space station Wednesday aboard the Shenzhou-15 to take over.
The space station marks a significant milestone in China’s three-decade long human space program, first approved in 1992. It also marks the beginning of a permanent Chinese colonization of space.
Construction of the station began in April last year with the launch of the first and largest of its three modules, Tianhe, which is the living quarters of visiting astronauts.