China's Shenzhou-10 mission successful

2013-12-02 07:47:11 GMT2013-12-02 15:47:11(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Three astronauts who completed China's longest manned space mission returned to Earth safely Wednesday morning, marking another step towards the country's goal of building a permanent manned space station by 2020.

Zhang Youxia, commander-in-chief of China's manned space program, said the Shenzhou-10 mission was a "complete success".

The reentry capsule of Shenzhou-10 landed safely in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at 8:07 a.m.. All three astronauts were in good physical condition.

Nie Haisheng, commander of the Shenzhou-10 crew and a second-time space traveler, was the first to emerge out of the module, followed by Wang Yaping, the only female astronaut of the mission, and Zhang Xiaoguang.

During a brief welcoming ceremony held at the landing area, the astronauts waved to a crowd composed of military officers, the search and recovery team, and health personnel.

"It feels really good to be back home," said Nie.

"We are dreamers, and we have now fulfilled our dream," said Zhang. "Our space dream knows no boundary, and our hard work will never cease," he said.

Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli was at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center and watched the live broadcast of the return.

"The complete success of the Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-10 mission has further consolidated China's space rendezvous and docking expertise and marked a great success in achieving the second-phase target of the nation's manned space program," Zhang Gaoli said in a congratulatory letter read on behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the State Council and the Central Military Commission.

NEW SPACE LAB, NEW ROCKETS

China will continue to carry out development and construction of a space laboratory and plans to launch Tiangong-2 space lab around 2015, an aerospace official told a press conference Wednesday.

Wang Zhaoyao, director of China's manned space program office, said the country plans to put in orbit an experimental core module of a space station around 2018 and complete the construction of a manned space station by 2020.

Prior to 2020, China will launch a series of cargo and manned spacecraft to deliver material supplies and transport astronauts to the future space lab and space station, according to Wang.

China will use new generation rockets with larger carrying capacities,said Yuan Jie, deputy general manager of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., at the press conference.

The Long March 5 carrier rocket will be used for the launching of the manned space station, and Long March 7 for carrying the cargo spacecraft for the station.

The new generation rockets will use new technologies. For example, new engines with non-toxic and non-polluting liquefied propellent will be used,which are safer and more environment friendly, according to Yuan.

The two types of rockets, both of which are under development, will be launched at a new launch site in south China's Hainan Province.

According to Yuan, the maiden flight for both rockets will be completed before 2015.

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