Chinese Shenzhou-11 space capsule lands successfully in Mongolia

 BEIJING, Nov. 18 : The return capsule of the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft was found in the main landing area in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at 2:07 p.m. Friday Beijing Time, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

The capsule returned to earth with two astronauts aboard, state media said, completing the country’s longest manned space mission to date.

China Central Television showed images of the craft – whose name translates as “Divine Vessel” – on the ground flanked by Chinese flags and support teams. State news agency Xinhua said the capsule had touched down “successfully” just after 2 p.m.

The two astronauts, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, spent 30 days aboard the Tiangong 2 space laboratory, or “Heavenly Palace 2”, which China is using to carry out experiments ahead of a longer-range plan to have a permanent manned space station around 2022.

They did not immediately emerge from the capsule as CCTV said they were undergoing medical examination, but mission commander Zhang Youxia, who is also a senior military official, said in a televised speech that they were in “good condition”.

“The Tiangong 2 and Shenzhou 11 flight duties were a complete success,” Zhang said.

Tiangong 2 will remain in its orbit and next docks with Tianzhou 1, China’s first cargo spacecraft, which is set to be launched in April next year, according to state media.