Chinese Astronaut Crew Returns After Historic Docking

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Three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth June 29 after 13 days in space on a historic mission that made their country only the third nation ever to successfully dock a crew-carrying spacecraft to another in orbit.

China’s Shenzhou 9 space capsule landed at about 10 a.m. Beijing time in Inner Mongolia. To prepare for their journey home, the space crew — which included China’s first female astronaut, Liu Yang — separated the Shenzhou 9 capsule from its docking target, the Tiangong 1 prototype space module, June 27.