The departing Shenzhou 16 astronauts handed over control of theTiangong space stationto the newly arrivedShenzhou 17crew during a short ceremony on Sunday (Oct. 29).
“On behalf of the Shenzhou 16 crew, I formally and solemnly hand over [the key] to the commander of the Shenzhou 17 mission,” said Jing Haipeng, commander of the Shenzhou 16 mission.
“I firmly believe, and all of us also believe, that under your leadership, your crew will cooperate closely, operate carefully, and complete the follow-up tasks successfully.”
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The Shenzhou 16 astronauts Jing and crewmates Zhu Yangzhu and Gui Haichao returned safely to Earthearly on Oct. 31 (GMT). Their return capsule set down at the Dongfeng Landing Site, located in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in northern China
- A patch of blue sky could be seen through the red-and-white-banded parachute
- The capsule landed safely, albeit with a few tumbles
- China made its first crewed space mission in 2003
A patch of blue sky could be seen through the red-and-white-banded parachute
China has been gaining rapid pace when it comes to space missions, from sending astronauts into orbit to probes on other planets, Beijing is ramping up its development of space infrastructure. The country recently landed three astronauts from its Tiangong space station.
However, reports indicate that the astronauts landed on a damaged parachute.
During the descent, a patch of blue sky could be seen through the red-and-white-banded parachute of the return capsule, indicating a possible hole, space.com reported.
The capsule landed safely, albeit with a few tumbles
Despite this, the capsule landed safely, albeit with a few tumbles before being enveloped in a cloud of sand kicked up by the impact. The capsule was seating astronauts Shenzhou 16 mission commander Jing Haipeng and crewmates Zhu Yangzhu and Gui Haichao.
Jing Haipeng, Zhu Yangzhu, and Gui Haichao emerged in good health from the return capsule near the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert, the official Xinhua News Agency said.
This is not the first time a China’s Shenzhou16 astronauts mission has experienced parachute issues. Brian Harvey, a renowned space writer and historian, told space.com of a previous incident during the Shenzhou 2 mission in 2001, where one of the parachute cords reportedly broke free, damaging the cabin at the final stage of landing.
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China made its first astronauts crewed space mission in 2003
China made its first crewed space mission in 2003 and plans to put astronauts on the moon before 2030. It has brought samples back from the lunar surface and landed a rover on the less explored far side of the moon. Future plans include sending a new telescope to probe deep into the universe.
China built its own space station after it was excluded from the International Space Station, largely due to U.S. concerns over Chinese military control over the national space program