A pair of Chinese astronauts entered the country's orbiting space station for a month-long stay early Wednesday, as China's sixth and longest crewed mission gets underway in earnest.
China has launched its second space station in a sign of the growing sophistication of its military-backed program that intends to send a mission to Mars in the coming years.
China on Sunday recovered an experimental probe launched aboard a new generation rocket, marking another milestone in its increasingly ambitious space program that envisions a mission to Mars by the end of the decade.
China completed its longest manned space mission Wednesday as its Shenzhou-10 spacecraft and three crew members safely returned to Earth, in a major step towards Beijing's goal of building a permanent space station by 2020.
China is to send its second woman astronaut into orbit on its longest mission yet, space officials said Monday, as the country works towards building a space station.
Three astronauts from China's first manual space docking mission received a rowdy welcome from hundreds of flag-waving children as they arrived in Hong Kong on Friday for a four-day visit.
China has said it will land an exploratory craft on the moon for the first time next year, as part of an ambitious space programme that includes a long-term plan to put a man on the moon.
China will deploy bigger spacecraft for longer missions following the success of its Shenzhou-9 voyage, allowing it to build a manned space station and potentially put a man on the moon, experts said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday told the three astronauts aboard a space capsule they had pushed forward China's space programme, after they carried out the country's first manual docking.
China on Saturday launched its most ambitious space mission to date, sending its first female astronaut into orbit and bidding to achieve the country's first manual space docking.