| 23 February 2024, Friday |

Chinese Astronauts Return to Earth After 90-Day Space Mission

The Chinese state broadcaster CCTV has shown footage of the spacecraft landing in the Gobi Desert where it was met by helicopters and off-road vehicles.

Three Chinese astronauts – Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo – returned to Earth on 17 September after a 90-day visit to the unfinished Tiangong orbital station in the country’s first crewed mission since 2016.

The crew landed safely in the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia in the north of China in the Gobi Desert, according to Chinese state media.

On 4 July, the Chinese astronauts performed their first spacewalk in 13 years.

The Shenzhou-12 manned spacecraft, which carried the astronauts, successfully docked with the Tianhe core module of the Tiangong station in June.

Tiangong is China’s future orbital station, but it is still be constructed. Tianhe is the control hub for the Tiangong. It was delivered to the station by a Long March 5B carrier rocket at the end of April.

Beijing expects to finish assembling its first space station in lower Earth orbit by 2022. The country has planned several missions, both cargo ship and crewed ones, across 2021 and 2022 to complete the complex.

  • Sputnik