|BEIJING, June 26 (Xinhua) -- Three astronauts who completed China's longest manned space mission returned to Earth safely Wednesday morning, marking another step forward towards the country's goal of building a permanent manned space station by 2020.
Zhang Youxia, commander-in-chief of China's manned space program, said the Shenzhou-10 mission was a "complete success".
The reentry module of Shenzhou-10 landed safely on a sun-lit prairie in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at about 8:07 a.m. Wednesday. All three astronauts were in good physical condition.
Nie Haisheng, commander of the Shenzhou-10 crew and a second-time space traveler, was the first to emerge out of the bowl-like module, followed by Wang Yaping, the only female astronaut of the mission, and Zhang Xiaoguang.
During a brief welcoming ceremony held at the landing area, the astronauts waved merrily to a crowd composed of military officers, the search and recovery team, and health personnel.
"It feels really good to be back home," said astronaut Nie Haisheng.
"We are dreamers, and we have now fulfilled our dream," said Zhang Xiaoguang. "Our space dream knows no boundary, and our hard work will never cease," he said.
Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli arrived at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center Wednesday morning and watched the live broadcast of the return and recovery of Shenzhou-10 there.
Zhang delivered a congratulatory note on behalf of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the State Council, and the Central Military Commission, celebrating the success of the Shenzhou-10 and Tiangong-1 mission.
The Shenzhou-10 is China's first application-oriented space flight.