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BEIJING (Reuters) - Three Chinese astronauts landed safely back on earth on Sunday after a 68-hour voyage and space walk that showcased the country's technological mastery and were hailed as a major victory by its leaders.
Their Shenzhou ("sacred vessel") spacecraft parachuted down to the steppes of northern Inner Mongolia region at dusk. Doctors rushed to open the capsule and check the men as they readjusted to gravity and recovered from the punishing re-entry.
Premier Wen Jiabao told the nation minutes later that the three were heroes for their efforts, which put China in an elite club of three nations that have managed a space walk.