China’s Astronauts Return to Earth

Posted June 28th, 2012 at 11:20 pm (UTC-5)
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China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft with three astronauts on board has landed in a remote northern area after a successful mission to manually dock with an orbiting space station module.

The three, including China's first female astronaut, landed safely Friday morning in the country's vast Inner Mongolia region. Rescue workers quickly surrounded the capsule as TV cameras broadcast the event live to a nation-wide audience.

During the nearly two-week mission, the crew completed both automated and manual dockings and conducted several experiments in the Tiangong space lab module. Manual docking is essential in the process of building a space station, which China intends to do by 2020.