China's Shenzhou-9 Mission Successful
    2012-07-02 09:09:04     CRIENGLISH.com         Web Editor: Mao Yaqing

Shenzhou-9 has made a safe return to earth this morning, landing safely in Inner Mongolia.

CRI's Shen Chengcheng on the plans for future space missions.

 

Shenzhou 9 parachuted safely to its intended landing area in the grasslands of Inner Mongolia around 10am this Friday.

Officials are touting the success of the Shenzhou 9 mission as proof China is ready to start the process of constructing its own space station, which is scheduled to be complete by 2020.

Moments after the capsule landed, the ground crew conducted medical checks on the 3 astronauts.

An hour later, mission commander Jing Haipeng smiled and waved as he emerged from the capsule.

Fellow astronauts Liu Wang and Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, followed behind him.

"We have successfully completed the first manned space docking mission for our country. We thank our country and our people for the support."
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"It feels so good to stand on earth and it feels even better to be home."

"The Tiangong 1 space module is our second home in outer space, it is very cozy and comfortable. We are very proud of our motherland."

The three astronauts successfully completed a manual docking between Shenzhou-9 and Tiangong-1 on Sunday.

They also conducted a series of scientific tests during their 13-day space flight.

Premier Wen Jiabao oversaw the landing at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

"The successful rendezvous and docking between the target orbiter Tiangong-1 and the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft marks a significant breakthrough in China's space docking technology, and it also marks decisive progress in fulfilling the second strategic target of China's manned space program."

Engineers are now evaluating the Shenzhou 9 mission and the condition of Tiangong 1.

If all goes to plan, another manned mission will be carried out as early as years end.

Space mission officials say the next mission may also include female astronauts.

The Tiangong-1 space lab is due to be retired in a few years.

The replacement, permanent station, is expected to play host to 3 astronauts and weigh about 60 tons, which is about one-sixth the size of the 16-nation International Space Station.

For CRI, I'm Shen Chengcheng.

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