China's Shenzhou-9 Returns to Earth
13-day mission a major success for Chinese space program
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2012 1:08 AM CDT
Liu Yang waves as she comes out of the Shenzhou-9's re-entry capsule.   (AP Photo/Xinhua, Wang Jianmin)
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(Newser) – China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft has landed safely in Inner Mongolia, ending a 13-day mission hailed as a major leap forward for the country's space program. On China's fourth manned space mission since 2003, the Shenzhou-9 completed a docking test vital to the country's goal of building a space station by 2020, reports Reuters. The crew, including Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut, waved and smiled as it emerged from the re-entry capsule and was immediately interviewed by state media. "We are proud of the motherland," Yang said.