The Shenzhou-13 return capsule, carrying the three Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts, Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu, safely landed back on Earth on Saturday morning after a record breaking six-month mission in space.
The capsule touched down at the Dongfeng landing site in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at about 9:56 a.m. after a journey of about nine hours from the country’s space station.
DCO Global News
Published on April 16, 2022
By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka
China declared the Shenzhou-13 mission a complete success after the medical team waiting on site confirmed that all three taikonauts were in good health.
Zhai, the commander of the mission, was the first to come out of the capsule, waving his hand to the cheering crowd on site with a big smile. He said he felt very good.
He was followed by Wang, the first female taikonaut who had entered China’s space station. “I want to tell my daughter, mom returned after reaching for the stars,” she said.
Ye exited last from the capsule. “My first flight to space lasted six months, which was a challenge to me. My space dream came true,” he said.
Highlights of Shenzhou-13 mission
During the six-month journey in the space station, the crew verified key technologies for the construction of the space station, including in-orbit transposition of spacecraft and robotic arm operation of heavy loads, which accumulated valuable experience for the subsequent in-orbit assembly and construction of the space station.
Two spacewalks were carried out by the crew. On November 7, 2021, Wang became the first female taikonaut to conduct a spacewalk.
Besides scientific missions, the crew also gave two live science lectures from the space station, during which they conducted various experiments and answered questions from students watching the class on Earth.
What to expect next?
The construction of the space station is due to be completed in 2022.
During the year, China will first launch the Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft followed by the Shenzhou-14 crewed spaceship, with Tianzhou-4 set to deliver supplies for the Shenzhou-14 crew. During their stay, two lab modules, Wentian and Mengtian, will be sent successively into space.
Each lab module will first dock with the front docking port of the core module and will be transferred by the space station’s robotic arm to the side docking ports on each side of the core module.
A T-shape complex will then be formed, at which point the construction of the space station would be complete.
The Tianzhou-5 cargo spacecraft and the Shenzhou-15 crewed spaceship will then be launched to begin the in-orbit rotation of the crew at the space station.
Moreover, a telescope capsule will be sent into space to fly in the same orbit as the space station to provide observation data for astronomical and physical studies.
After completing the space station, China plans to carry out more extensive and in-depth international cooperation.
By Odoh Dominic Chukwuemeka
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