The three crew members have been in space for 183 days, the longest ever for a Chinese astronaut.
Three Chinese astronauts landed in northern China on Saturday after 183 days in space, ending the country’s longest manned space mission to date, state broadcaster China Central Television said.
Zhai Zhigang, Ye Guangfu and Wang Yaping, a man and a woman, landed safely in a small space capsule shortly before 10 a.m. Beijing time (02:00 GMT) after spending six months in the Tianhe core module of China’s Tiangong space station middle.
“Shenzhou 13 successfully landed in the return capsule,” CCTV said.
With the United States banned from participating in the International Space Station (ISS), China has spent the past 10 years developing technology to build Tiangong, the only space station other than the ISS.
The country aims to become a major space power by 2030, rivaling the United States and Russia. It has landed a rover on Mars and sent a probe to the moon, and the country’s national space agency says it aims to launch a manned lunar mission by 2029.
CCTV footage from the scene showed the capsule descending in a cloud of dust, and ground crews, far from the landing site, rushed towards it in helicopters.
There was applause as the astronauts took turns reporting that they “felt good.”
Shenzhou 13 is the second of four manned missions to assemble Tiangong, which means “Heavenly Palace.”
Last November, Wang became the first Chinese woman to walk in space, and she and her colleague Zhai installed the space station equipment over the course of six hours.
Mission commander Zhai, 55, is a former fighter pilot who conducted China’s first spacewalk in 2008, while Ye is a pilot in the People’s Liberation Army.
The trio have completed two spacewalks, conducted numerous scientific experiments, set up equipment and tested future technologies built in orbit.
The upcoming Shenzhou XIV is expected to launch in the next few months.
According to CCTV, the astronauts will stay on the Chinese space station for six months on future missions.