China's 1st Space Station Crew Returns to Earth

Three Chinese astronauts have started their journey home after 90 days, completing the country's longest crewed mission.

  • China's 1st Space Station Crew Returns to Earth
    Astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo.

China's three astronauts will return home on Friday after two spacewalks and setting a new national record for the longest crewed spaceflight mission.

Astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo have spent 90 days aboard China's Tianhe space station module since arriving aboard Shenzhou 12 on June 17. 

Sources revealed that the crew returned between 1:14 and 1:44 a.m. EDT (0514-0544 GMT or 1:14-1:44 p.m. local time) on Friday.

The landing will occur near Dongfeng, in the Gobi Desert in Inner Mongolia. The area is close to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, from which China's human spaceflight missions launch.

After launching on June 17, mission commander Nie and astronauts Liu and Tang executed two spacewalks and deployed a 10-meter (33-foot) mechanical arm.