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Shenzhou-10 ends China’s longest manned space mission
June 26, 2013, 9:59 am


Astronaut Yang Liwei getting out of the re-entry capsule of China’s Shenzhou-5 spacecraft [Xinhua]

A Chinese spaceship carrying three astronauts returned safely to Earth on Wednesday morning after spending two weeks on a space mission.

The return capsule carrying two male and one female astronaut touched down at 8:07 a.m. local time at the designated area in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

Shenzhou-10, China’s fifth manned spacecraft, took off from the Jiuquan launch centre in the northwestern province of Gansu on June 11.

Zhang Youxia, commander-in-chief of China’s manned space programme, said the Shenzhou-10 mission was a “complete success”.

This was China’s longest manned space mission and the country is planning to build a permanent manned space station by 2020.

During their mission in space the astronauts docked twice with the Tiangong-1 space station, which had been in orbit since September 2011.

The Shenzhou-10 is a shuttle craft able to transport astronauts and supplies to orbiting modules.

The mission is designed to test docking and astronaut support technologies, as well as capabilities for the construction of a space platform.

Wang Zhaoyao, director of China’s manned space programme office, said the country plans to put in orbit an experimental core module of a space station around 2018 and complete the construction of a manned space station by 2020.

China’s first manned flight into space was in October 2003 aboard the Shenzhou-5.

Source: Agencies