Screen image captured at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, June 17, 2021 shows three Chinese astronauts onboard the Shenzhou-12 spaceship saluting after entering the space station core module Tianhe. (Xinhua/Jin Liwang)
BEIJING, Sept. 16 (Xinhua) -- The Shenzhou-12 spaceship completed circumnavigation and radial rendezvous tests at 1:38 p.m. (Beijing Time) Thursday, and the three astronauts will start their way home.
The tests successfully verified the radial rendezvous technology, laying an important technical foundation for the following manned missions, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).
The spaceship will return as planned. The three astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo will begin their journey home, after living and working in the space station core module Tianhe for 90 days, the longest stay in space by Chinese astronauts, the CMSA said.
Shenzhou-12 separated from Tianhe at 8:56 a.m. Thursday.
The three Chinese astronauts were sent into space onboard the Shenzhou-12 spaceship and entered Tianhe on June 17. The crew carried out extravehicular activities twice over the past 90 days. ■