Shenzhou-13 Taikonauts Returned to Earth

Updated: Apr 17

Three Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts, the second team sent to orbit for space station construction, have completed their six-month mission and returned to Earth safely on Saturday.

On April 15, 2022, 16:44 UTC [April 16, 2022, 00:44 Beijing time], the Shenzhou 13 manned spacecraft was successfully separated from the Tianhe core module of the Tiangong space station. The Shenzhou 13 astronaut crew worked and lived in the space station complex for 183 days, The record of the time spent in space by an astronaut on a single mission. Before the separation, the astronaut crew, with the cooperation of ground technicians, completed various pre-evacuation tasks such as setting the state of the space station assembly, sorting and downloading experimental data, and cleaning and transferring the materials left in orbit. In the follow-up, the return module of the Shenzhou 13 manned spacecraft will choose an opportunity to re-enter and return under the control of ground commands. Astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Wang Yaping and Ye Guangfu are about to embark on a journey home,

During the Shenzhou 13 return mission, the Dongfeng Landing Site Search and Rescue Team set up a total of 11 search and rescue teams in the east and west areas of the Dongfeng Landing Site. Nearly 100 vehicles, 5 helicopters and 1 fixed-wing aircraft were invested, and corresponding civilian search and rescue forces were coordinated around the landing site.

The Shenzhou-13 return capsule successfully touchdown today at 01:56 UTC on April 16, 2022, Saturday [09:56 Beijing]. Medical teams confirmed that the crew of three taikonauts are in good health, marking the full success of the Shenzhou-13 manned spaceflight mission,

Ground rescue and recovery teams arrived at the landing point immediately, and medics opened the hatch and confirmed the crew are in good health condition.

CMSA said "All three taikonauts egress return capsule by 03:05 UTC, and they are adapting to the gravity," The Shenzhou-13 crew exited the return capsule one hour and 10 minutes after their touchdown, faster than that for Shenzhou-12 crew which took one hour and 40 minutes.

Red banner screen at BACC of successful mission

Compared to the return trip of the Shenzhou-12 mission which took approximately 28 hours, the Shenzhou-13 carried out a rapid return maneuver which took just eight hours.

The CAST explained that the Shenzhou-13 orbit plan was streamlined to five orbits compared to the 18 of the Shenzhou-12 mission, and it was designed to further enhance return efficiency, shorten the ground monitoring and make it more comfortable for the returning astronauts.

The Shenzhou-13 mission executed two successful spacewalks with Wang Yaping, who became the first Chinese woman in history to perform this maneuver. Wang is also the record-holder for the longest stay in orbit by any Chinese astronaut.

The crew delivered two Tiangong Classroom science lectures for students on Earth, connecting with young people in Beijing, Hong Kong, Macao and the Xinjiang and Xizang autonomous regions.

"Normally, the Rehabilitation it would take around three months for astronauts returning from space to recover their strength. However, it could take a bit longer for the Shenzhou-13 crew, as they stayed in space for such a long period, Pang said. After the successful Shenzhou-13 mission, China Space Station will enter an in-orbit construction phase with two lab modules to be added to the core module, per program insiders." said Pang Zhihao, a senior space expert.

At this moment, with the successful completion of the Shenzhou 13 manned flight mission, the rescue/emergency duty of the Long March 2 F/G Y14 has also ended.

This triumph marks the official end of the key technology verification stage during the construction of the space station. ​At present, the first flight mission of the space station construction period, Tianzhou-4, is intensifying in Wenchang, Hainan. The Tianzhou-4 cargo spacecraft and the Long March 7-Yao-5 carrier rocket are expected to carry out vertical transfer work from May 3 to May 7, 2022, and will be launched from May 10 to May 13.


The CZ-2F/G Y14 will be transferred from the emergency duty area on the left of the VAB to the final assembly area on the right, and complete the final assembly with the Shenzhou 14 manned spacecraft that arrived earlier. CZ-2F/G Y15 will also enter the emergency duty area on the left in the near future, and perform emergency duty tasks after the launch of Shenzhou 14.

Long March 2F

The Launch of Wentian science module and Shenzhou 14 are planned in between May - June 2022 timeframe.

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