Chinese astronauts in the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft have successfully returned to earth. The spacecraft landed in Inner Mongolia at 10:00 am Beijing time on Friday.
Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and China's first woman astronaut Liu Yang were back home after being in space for 13 days. Chinese scientists claim that they are now capable of transporting humans and cargo to the space lab.
Chinese leaders Premier Wen Jiabao, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang arrived at the landing site on Friday morning to watch the return of Shenzhou-9, according to Xinhuanet.
"Tiangong 1 and Shenzhou 9, in the task of manned rendezvous and docking, have achieved complete success," the Guardian quoted Premier Wen Jiabao, as saying. "This is another outstanding contribution by the Chinese people to humanity's efforts to explore and use space."
Doctors who examined the astronauts said they were in good health.
Images of the capsule landing in Inner Mongolia were shown live on local television, according to a BBC report.
Shenzhou 9 was launched on 16 June, 2012 to carry out a rendezvous and docking test with the Tiangong-1, an 8.5-ton space-laboratory module, which is capable of supporting the docking of manned and autonomous spacecraft; it was launched in September 2011.
On 24 June, Chinese astronauts successfully made their first manual docking with the Tiangong-1. The astronauts conducted several experiments and tests in the space lab. The scientists said that the data from the experiments will help them improve their technologies and also build another space station by 2020
"The data will help us improve technologies for astronauts' future and long-term stays in a space station," Xinhuanet quoted Chen Shanguang, chief commander of the mission's astronaut system, as saying.
On Thursday, the three astronauts had manually separated the Shenhouz-9 spacecraft from the Tiangong-1 lab module at 6 am Beijing time.