Taikonauts Chen Dong (center), Liu Yang (left) and Cai Xuzhe (right). (Photo/China Manned Space Engineering Office)
The three crew members of the Shenzhou XIV mission have been awarded with medals to honor their service and accomplishments.
The Communist Party of China Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission conferred on Friday the Second-grade Space Service Medal on Senior Colonel Chen Dong and Senior Colonel Liu Yang and a Third-grade Space Service Medal on Senior Colonel Cai Xuzhe.
Cai was also named a "Heroic Astronaut". Chen and Liu have previously received this honorary title for their past flight missions.
Chen was commander of the six-month Shenzhou XIV mission while Liu and Cai were crew members. They are part of the People's Liberation Army Astronaut Division headquartered in northwestern Beijing.
Chen's crew was the third group to go to the Chinese station, one of the largest pieces of infrastructure ever deployed in Earth's orbit. The three were launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert on June 5 and arrived at Tiangong later that day. They returned to Earth on Dec 4.
The Shenzhou XIV mission was the most sophisticated and difficult in the in-orbit assembly phase in the Tiangong space station program, according to the news release about their honors.
During their flight, Fei's team carried out three spacewalks, installed and fine-tuned a lot of equipment, and conducted a number of scientific experiments and technological tests.
The current crew inside the Tiangong — the three members of the Shenzhou XV mission — arrived at the station on Nov 30. They are scheduled to fly with the station until May, when the Shenzhou XVI crew will take over.