Apr 16, 2022 - Science

Chinese astronauts land on Earth after longest crewed space mission

Students wave Chinese national flags as they watch a live TV broadcast of the landing of Shenzhou-13 return capsule.
Students wave Chinese national flags as they watch a live TV broadcast of the landing of the Shenzhou-13 return capsule at Chongqing Vocational College of Intelligent Engineering on April 16 in Chongqing, China. Photo: Chen Shichuan/VCG via Getty Images

Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth on Saturday after six months in space in the longest crewed mission to date for the country's space program, AP reports.

Driving the news: The Shenzhou 13 space capsule landed in the Gobi desert in the northern region of Inner Mongolia on Saturday after 183 days in space, per Reuters.

  • Astronaut Wang Yaping also completed the first spacewalk by a Chinese woman.

The big picture: China launched its first astronaut into space in 2003 and landed rovers on the moon in 2013 and on Mars.

  • The crew that returned on Saturday was the second crew aboard Tiangong, or Heavenly Palace.
  • Its core module, Tianhe, was launched in April 2021, per AP.

What to watch: Authorities have yet to announce a date for launching the next Tiangong crew.

Go deeper: China launches Tianhe module of new space station

Go deeper