Crew members of the Shenzhou XIII mission return to Earth
After orbiting Earth for six months, the three crew members of China's Shenzhou XIII mission departed from the Tiangong space station and returned to the mother planet on Saturday morning, finishing the nation's longest manned spaceflight.
Major General Zhai Zhigang, who was the mission commander, Senior Colonel Wang Yaping and Senior Colonel Ye Guangfu breathed fresh air for the first time after the half-year space journey as ground recovery personnel opened the hatch of their reentry capsule at 10:03 am.
The capsule touched down on Earth at the Dongfeng Landing Site in northwestern China's Gobi Desert at 9:56 am after flying nine hours in a reentry trajectory.
They were then carried out one by one by ground workers and placed onto chairs in front of the capsule.
"I am feeling very good. We want to report to the motherland and the people that we have successfully completed the Shenzhou XIII mission. We wish to thank President Xi for his care and attention. We thank all the Chinese people for their support and encouragement. Our gratitude also goes to all of those involved in our mission who accompanied us day and night," Zhai, the mission commander, told China Central Television in a live program on the State broadcaster.
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