Chinese astronauts land back on Earth after six months on Tiangong space station | South China Morning Post


imageThree Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Saturday after spending six months on the Tiangong space station.The return journey took about nine hours by using a new procedure that will shorten the journey time to eight hours compared with 28 hours during the previous mission.The Shenzhou 13 capsule landed in Inner Mongolia on Saturday morning.The probe used three parachutes to slow down from a speed of 200 metres a second to 7 metres a second as it approaches the Earth.The Shenzhou 13 crew began their mission in October last year and spent six months in orbit, the longest Chinese space mission yet.The crew performed two spacewalks to install components for the external mechanical arm, adjust cameras and to conduct tests.

In November, one of the crew members, Wang Yaping, became the first Chinese woman to have performed a spacewalk.After their return, researchers will launch a full evaluation of key technologies used on the space station before launching the next phase of the Tiangong mission.An unmanned supply mission is expected next month before the Shenzhou 14 crew travel to the space station to oversee the docking of two space laboratories, named Wentian and Mengtian, to complete the configuration of the T-shaped space station by the end of the year.The China Manned Space Agency said last month that the crews for the next two missions have been identified and were in training, but their names have yet to be announced..

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