China’s longest manned space mission has been completed on June 26, 2013, as the Shenzhou-10 space craft carrying three crew members landed safely back to Earth. The return of the spaceship marked a major step for Beijing towards its goal of building a permanent space station by 2020.
The capsule touched the ground at 8:07 am on the grasslands of north China’s Inner Mongolia region and the return was broadcasted live on TV. The technicians quickly rushed to open the hatch of the craft and went inside to check if the crew was safe and an applause erupted when it was found that the crew was intact.
Nie Haisheng, one of the commanders, was the first one to come out of the capsule at 9:31 am. Later on, the female astronaut Wang Yaping also came out smiling and waving. Haisheng said, “At this moment what I most want to say is that space is our dream and our motherland is forever our home”.
Some of the highlights of the mission include dockings with the orbiting space module Tiangong-1 of China in series of tests which were intended for a preparation of the building of space station. Last week, Wang delivered a video class to children across the country from space.