Shenzhou XV astronauts to return on Sunday

The Shenzhou XV and Shenzhou XVI crews pose in the Tianhe core module of the Tiangong space station on May 30, marking the start of the in-orbit crew handover, in this screen grab from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

JIUQUAN – China's Shenzhou-15 astronauts will return to Earth on June 4, having completed all their scheduled tasks, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced on Friday.

The three astronauts – Major General Fei Junlong, the mission commander, Senior Colonel Deng Qingming and Senior Colonel Zhang Lu –  handed over the control of the space station to the Shenzhou-16 crew on Friday, completing the country's second in-orbit crew rotation, according to the CMSA.

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They will touch down at the Dongfeng landing site in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The landing site has completed the preparations for the return of the three astronauts, according to the CMSA.

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The Shenzhou XV crew was tasked with staying in orbit for six months to carry out a number of assignments, such as conducting spacewalks to mount equipment outside the station, installing and testing scientific cabinets and conducting scientific experiments and technological demonstrations, mission officials have said.