Three Chinese astronauts who spent half a year aboard their country’s space station have safely made it back to Earth.
The astronauts – Chen Dong, Liu Yang and Cai Xuzhe – embarked on the space voyage to supervise the final construction stage of China’s Tiangong space station. They left their home country on June 5 and returned on Sunday, landing in China’s autonomous region of Inner Mongolia aboard the Shenzhou-14 spacecraft.
The six-month mission was a “complete success,” according to China’s space agency. All three astronauts stated they were in good condition following their arrival, as heard in audio that was aired by Chinese broadcaster CCTV.
Prior to their arrival, Yang, who made history as the first Chinese female astronaut in space, shared that she felt “excited to return to the motherland,” according to Chinese state news agency Xinhua.
On Wednesday, a new crew arrived at the Tiangong space station to take over for six months. The three Chinese astronauts, who reached the space station aboard the Shenzhou-15 spacecraft, will continue to install both facilities and equipment. The Tiangong space station is expected to operate for around 10 years and will receive two crewed missions annually.