Shenzhou XVI crew safely lands on Earth after five-month mission

By ZHAO LEI | | Updated: 2023-10-31 08:12
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The return capsule of the Shenzhou XVI manned spaceship touches down at the Dongfeng landing site in North China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region, Oct 31, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Shenzhou XVI mission crew returned to Earth on Tuesday morning, concluding a historic, five-month mission that involved the first Chinese civilian astronaut.

The Shenzhou XVI spacecraft's reentry capsule, carrying the three astronauts — mission commander Major General Jing Haipeng, Colonel Zhu Yangzhu and Professor Gui Haichao — touched down at 8:11 am at the Dongfeng Landing Site in Gobi Desert in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region after flying nearly 12 hours on the return journey.

Following safety checks outside the capsule, ground recovery personnel opened the hatch of the bell-shaped vehicle and conducted a preliminary examination of the astronauts' condition.

Sitting inside the capsule, Jing told ground controllers in Beijing via radio that his team had landed safely and were "feeling pretty good".

They will soon be carried out from the capsule and transferred to medical-support vans for further examinations.

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