Beijing: Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth safely on Saturday after spending six months aboard China’s new space station, doubling the previous stay of the country’s longest single flight in space.
The Shenzhou-13 crew have safely returned to Earth after their epic six-month orbital trip, which nearly doubled the previous record of China’s longest single-flight space mission of 92 days set by the Shenzhou-12, some eight hours after the manned spacecraft’s detachment from the Tianhe core module, Global Times reported.
It further said that the Shenzhou-13 return capsule conducted successful touchdown at 9:56 am Saturday in the Dongfeng landing site in Gobi Desert, North China’s Inner Mongolia region.
The medical team confirmed that the crew of three taikonauts are in good health, marking the full success of the Shenzhou-13 manned spaceflight mission, as per the Chinese media citing China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) yesterday.
The ground controlling team ordered the return by 9:06 am, and the return capsule separated with the Shenzhou-13 with success. After that, at 9:30 am, the return capsule detached from the propelling part, according to the CMSA.
Last year in 2021, three Chinese astronauts had completed their three-month Shenzhou-12 mission and returned to Earth safely.
A spacecraft carrying Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, touched down at the Dongfeng landing site in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.
The three taikonauts came out of the return capsule one hour and 40 minutes after the touchdown, Global Times had reported citing the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center.
Meanwhile, the Shenzhou spacecraft developer, China Academy of Spacecraft Technology (CAST) disclosed in a statement that the Shenzhou-13 mission also explored emergency mission mechanisms for the first time, with the Shenzhou-14 manned spacecraft and Long March-2F Y14 rocket in standby position right after the launch of the Shenzhou-13 and Long March-2F Y13, Global Times reported on Saturday.
Compared to the return trip of the Shenzhou-12 mission which took approximately 28 hours, the Shenzhou-13 carried out a rapid return manoeuvre which took just eight hours, Global Times reported.
The CAST explained that the Shenzhou-13 orbit plan was streamlined to five orbits compared to the 18 of the Shenzhou-12 mission, and it was designed to further enhance return efficiency, shorten the ground monitoring and make it more comfortable for the returning astronauts, it added.