China’s Shenzhou-9 Crew Returns to Earth
The capsule carrying the crew of China’s Shenzhou-9 spacecraft has successfully landed in the country’s Inner Mongolia region after 13 days in space. The success of the mission brings China a step closer to creating its own manned space station.
The capsule was carrying three taikonauts, among them the first Chinese woman in space, Liu Yang.
Shenzhou-9 was launched on June 16 and later docked with Tiangong-1 orbital station. The first Chinese manual docking was carried out as planned. While in space the taikonauts performed a series of scientific experiments.
Live images of the capsule’s safe landing in the grassland of Inner Mongolia’s Siziwang county have been shown on Chinese state television.
Most of the media spotlight is on 33-year-old Liu, an air force pilot who was recruited to be a taikonaut in May 2010. Chinese space program officials have proudly declared that China’s first female astronaut’s entire training program was carried out in China.