CNSA - China National Space Administration logo.
June 29. 2012
Three Chinese Taïkonauts returned to Earth Thursday (June 28) after 13 days in space on a historic mission that made their country only the third nation ever to successfully dock a manned spacecraft to another in orbit.
China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft returns to Earth
China's Shenzhou 9 space capsule landed at about10 p.m. EDT (10 a.m. Friday, June 29 Beijing time) in Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China. To prepare for their journey home, the space crew — which included China's first female Taïkonaut Liu Yang — separated the Shenzhou 9 capsule its target, the Tiangong 1 prototype space module, on Wednesday (June 27).
Image above: This photograph of a China CCTV broadcast shows the Shenzhou 9 space capsule lying on its side after landing in an autonomous region of China in Inner Mongolia on June 29, 2012 Beijing time (10 p.m. June 28 EDT) to end a 13-day mission to the Tiangong 1 space lab module. Credit: CCTV.
Their landing was broadcast live on China's state-run CCTV television network, showing the capsule streaking through the atmosphere like a meteor, deploying its main parachute, then making the final landing and rolling over on its side in a rough touchdown.
China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft undocking & returns to Earth
"We fulfilled the first manned manual docking," mission commander Jing Haipeng told CCTV reporters after exiting the Shenzhou 9 capsule. His comments in Chinese were translated into English by CCTV. "For the country and people all across the country, thank you for your concerns."
Jing and crewmates Liu Yang and Liu Wang appeared to be in good health after their space mission. The trio wore broad smiles and waved to cameras after leaving their spacecraft, but did sit in reclined chairs to help ease their adaptation back to Earth's gravity after nearly two weeks in weightlessness.
Image above: Chinese Taïkonaut Jing Haipeng, commander of the Shenzhou 9 mission, salutes after exiting the space capsule following landing in Inner Mongolia autonomous mission on June 28, 2012. Credit: China Central Television/CCTV.
Shortly after the landing, China's Premier Wen Jiabao proclaimed the Shenzhou 9 mission a complete success.
"This manned docking mission of Tiangong 1 and Shenzhou 9 marks a large milestone, a major breakthrough for China to master the space docking technology," Wen said while reading a statement. "And also, it marks a decisive step forward on China's second step on its space strategy."
For more information about CNSA, visit: http://www.cnsa.gov.cn/n615709/cindex.html
Images (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: AP / China Central Television / CCTV / IBTime / CNSA.
Best regards, Orbiter.ch