Three Chinese space heroes return to EarthView(s):
BEIJING, June 30 (AFP) – Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth as heroes on Friday after carrying out China’s most complex and longest mission in orbit, vital steps in the country’s effort to build a space station by 2020. The 13-day voyage also saw China send a woman into space for the first time, and the nation’s leaders celebrated as soon as the crew members emerged from their cramped return capsule smiling and seemingly in good health.
“This is… another outstanding contribution by the Chinese nation to human exploration and the use of outer space,” Premier Wen Jiabao said, reading a statement representing all the top leaders.
“It has profound significance in enhancing China’s comprehensive power and inspiring the national spirit.”The charred return capsule of the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, which means Divine Vessel in Chinese, hit the ground in a remote area of northern China and rolled over on Friday morning after an approach slowed by a large parachute.
With the events broadcast across the nation on state-run television, the crew members spent another hour inside the capsule while medical workers checked on their conditions.As the three were finally pulled out still wearing their white space suits, they waved, smiled and gave thumbs up signals, then made patriotic comments for the television audience.
“We have successfully accomplished the first manned docking mission for China and have now returned to home,” said crew leader Jing Haipeng, 45, who has been on three of the country’s four manned space missions.“Thanks to our country, thanks to the care and love from people of all ethnic groups of the country.thanks.”
The history-making female member of the crew, Liu Yang, a 33-year-old air force pilot, was in similarly good spirits, saying she felt “warm and comfortable” throughout the trip.During their mission the crew successfully carried out China’s first manual space docking, an extremely difficult move that is essential in the process of building a space station — which Beijing aims to do by 2020.
The manoeuvre — completed by the Americans and Russians in the 1960s — requires two vessels orbiting Earth at thousands of kilometres (miles) per hour to come together very gently to avoid destroying each other.It was the main goal of the mission and the team rehearsed the procedure more than 1,500 times in simulations.comments powered by Disqus