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Shenzhou III Returns to Earth

Press Release From: Xinhua News Agency
Posted: Monday, April 1, 2002

BEIJING, April 1 (Xinhuanet) -- China's third unmanned spaceship "Shenzhou III" returned to the earth Monday afternoon and landed at16:51 (Beijing Time) the designated area in the central part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region.

When the spaceship orbited its 108th pass around the earth, thesurveying vessel, "Yuanwang III" which was anchoring in the Atlantic Ocean in the South Hemisphere, ordered the spaceship's returning module to come back.

After separation from the orbital module, which would still runaround the earth in the coming months, the returning module flew to the preset area.

Chinese space scientists will analyze and study scientific instruments and experimental samples aboard on the returning module, which is scheduled to be transported to Beijing in a couple of days.

Leading officers with the China Manned Space Program which includes a series of test flights expected to lead to a first manned space mission, said that "Shenzhou III" is "technically suitable for astronauts".

A set of metabolic simulation apparatus, human physical monitoring sensors and dummy astronauts have been installed aboardthe spaceship, they said.

They also said that the successful launch and return of "Shenzhou III" have laid a solid basis for the country's future endeavor to send man to outer space.

On March 25, "Long March III F" carrier rocket boosted the spaceship into the preset orbit. During its space tour of six daysand 18 hours, the spaceship orbited 108 passes around the earth.

Shenzhou's flight was being tracked and controlled from the Beijing Aerospace Direction and Control Center, Xi'an Satellite Monitoring Center and a fleet of four monitoring vessels, which have been deployed in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.

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