According to a report from Space.com, three Chinese astronauts returned to Earth yesterday after spending six months on the unfinished Tiangong space station. This is China's longest mission so far.
The space station's core Tianhe module was removed about nine hours prior to the landing of the spaceship. The crew spent a total of 183 days on the space station after taking off from the satellite launch center.
Wang Yaping made history as the first Chinese woman to conduct a spacewalk
Wang Yaping was the first Chinese woman to visit the space station and also the first woman to conduct a spacewalk. Wang was with crewmates Ye Guangfu and Zhai Zhigang. The trio carried out a total of two spacewalks, performed various tests around the station, as well as held two live lectures for students watching from Earth.
China plans to finish constructing the Tiangong space station with 11 missions. The station was brought online by three taikonauts after China launched the Tianhe module. According to Space.com, the crew of the space station will leave in June. The station will be finished by the end of the year, with the launch of two additional modules.
Six months aboard a space station sounds like a long time, but it is the typical time for missions to the International Space Station, which China is excluded from. Mark Van de Hei, who just returned to Earth last month, currently holds the record for the longest consecutive stay in space.