Chinese astronauts land on Earth after space mission

STORY: The astronauts landed nine hours after they left a key module of China's first space station.

While in orbit, the Shenzhou-13 mission astronauts took manual control in the Tianhe living quarters module for what state media called a "docking experiment" with the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft.

Following their launch in October, the crew of two male and one female astronauts - Zhai Zhigang, Ye Guangfu and Wang Yaping - spent 183 days in space, completing the fifth of 11 missions needed to finish China's ambitious space station project by the end of the year.

Barred by the United States from participating in the International Space Station (ISS) in orbit, China has spent the past decade developing technologies to build its own space station, the only one in the world other than the ISS.

Shenzhou-13 was the second of four planned crewed missions to complete construction of the space station, which began last April.

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