Chinese astronauts will land on the space station six months later

Beijing (AP) — Three Chinese astronauts six months after riding their country’s latest orbital station on the longest crew mission ever for China’s ambitious space program. , Returned to Earth on Saturday.

The space capsule of Shenzhou 13 that landed in the Gobi Desert in northern Inner Mongolia is being broadcast live on national television.

During the mission, Astronaut Wang Yaping performed the first EVA by a Chinese woman. Wang and his crew Zhai Zhigang and Ye Guangfu looked back on physics lessons for high school students.

China launched its first astronaut into space in 2003, landing a lunar rover in 2013 and a robot rover on Mars last year. Authorities discussed the possibility of a manned mission to the Moon.

On Saturday, state television displayed images from inside the capsule as it traveled through Africa at 200 meters per second before it entered the atmosphere.

The trio was the second crew member in Tiangon, or the Palace of Heaven. Its core module, Tianhe, was launched in April 2021. The plan is to complete construction this year with the addition of two more modules.

Authorities have not yet announced a date to launch the next Tiangong crew.

China has been excluded from the International Space Station due to US concerns that its space program is being run by the PLA, the military arm of the ruling Communist Party.

China was the third country to launch astronauts into space alone, after the former Soviet Union and the United States.

The Tiangong is the third space station in China following its predecessor launched in 2011 and 2016.

The government announced in 2020 that China’s first reusable spacecraft landed after a test flight, but no vehicle photos or details were released.

On Tuesday, President Xi Jinping visited Wenchang’s launch site on the southern island of Hainan Province, from which the Tianwa module was launched into orbit.

“We will continue to pursue the world’s aerospace development frontier and the country’s key strategic needs for aerospace,” Xi told field staff, all in military uniform.