China’s Shenzhou 9 spacecraft returns to Earth, 3 astronauts safe, including Liu Yang, first Chinese female astronaut

By on Jun 29, 2012 in Asia, Astronomy Comments

China‘s spacecraft Shenzhou 9 returned to earth successfully on Friday, June 29, 2012 and the three Chinese astronauts on board were safe, after their 13-day mission in space, a notably historical event for the country.

Liu Yang, first Chinese female astronaut
Image Credit: Xinhua/Qin Xian’an

As featured live at CCTV, China‘s state TV, that day, Shenzhou 9 landed in Inner Mongolia shortly after 10 a.m. (local time) and on board were spacecraft commander Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang, and Liu Yang, 33, who made into world headlines earlier for being the first Chinese female astronaut.

According to Xinhua News Agency, Beijing Aerospace Control Center reported that a manual operation successfully separated the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and the Tiangong 1 lab module on Thursday morning, which is the first time for a Chinese spacecraft.

Back on Tuesday, Chinese President Hu Jintao was able to speak with the astronauts via video communication system from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center, with Shenzhou 9‘s mission includes conducting a series of experiments and collecting data samples.

Shenzhou 9, which was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center last June 16, successfully docked at Tiangong 1 space lab two days later, marking China‘s first manned spacecraft rendezvous and docking, becoming the third country to venture in space missions, following US and Russia.

Apparently, Shenzhou-9 marks the 9th flight in Shenzhou program and the country’s fourth manned space mission since 2003, with Tiangong 1 reportedly to be replaced with a permanent, larger, space station by 2020.

CCTV live broadcast, showing China’s Shenzhou 9 spacecraft after returning to Earth (June 29, 2012)
Image Credit: CCTV

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