A see-off ceremony for three Chinese astronauts of the Shenzhou XII manned space mission is held at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Northwest China, June 17, 2021. (Photo by Su Dong/for chinadaily.com.cn)
In mid-June, the Shenzhou XII spacecraft, carrying a three-strong crew－Major General Nie Haisheng, Major General Liu Boming and Senior Colonel Tang Hongbo－was launched by a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert in Northwest China.
The craft docked with Tianhe just hours after reaching the module's orbit and the crew quickly entered the facility, becoming the first occupants of the Tiangong space station.
During the crew's 90-day stay, they verified plans and equipment designed for long-term spaceflight, performed a number of scientific experiments and technological tests, and made two spacewalks to use a large robotic arm and other apparatus to install and adjust equipment outside the station.
They also made video calls with President Xi Jinping and hundreds of researchers, teachers and students in Hong Kong.
The Shenzhou XII crew finished their 92-day mission in mid-September and then returned to Earth.