Landing Coverage for China's Shenzhou 6 Spaceflight
Chinese astronaut Nie Haisheng, with the help of workers, gets out of the re-entry capsule of China's second manned spacecraft, Shenzhou-6, after landing in Siziwang Banner (County), north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Monday, Oct. 17, 2005.
Credit: AP Photo/Xinhua, Zhao Jianwei.

6:30 p.m. EDT

China's Xinhua News Agency states that Shenzhou 6 astronaut Nie Haisheng has a healthy appetite after his five-day spaceflight with crewmate Fei Junlong, and eating instant noodles during his medical checks.

A wrap up story of China's Shenzhou 6 landing can be found here.

6:18 p.m. EDT

With their mission over, Shenzhou 6 astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng are enjoying chocolate and herbal tea as they undergo medical checks aboard their recovery helicopter, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

6:09 p.m. EDT

While the two Shenzhou 6 astronauts undergo medical checks aboard a recovery helicopter, their spacecraft's orbital module - which was jettisoned before landing - is performing well in orbit, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

5:45 p.m. EDT

After five days in space, Chinese astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng aboard the Shenzhou 6 spacecraft landed safely on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia at 4:32 p.m. EDT (2032 GMT, 4:32 a.m. Beijing Time).

Both astronauts have exited their spacecraft and were immediately presented with flowers and seated in chairs. They waved as they stepped down from the spacecraft, then again together with their feet firmly planted back on Earth.

Video of their egress was broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV)

Fei thanked the audience and the motherland for their support during the mission during the live broadcast.

Additional medical checkups are underway, CCTV reports.

Here is a rundown of Shenzhou 6's landing operations to date with most recent activities first:

5:18 p.m. EDT (5:18 a.m. Oct. 17 Beijing Time): Medical check ups of Shenzhou 6 crew underway

4:52 p.m. EDT (4:52 a.m. Oct. 17 Beijing Time) - Recovery helicopters arrive at Shenzhou 6 landing site in Siziwang Banner region of Inner Mongolia.

4:32:50 - Shenzhou 6 lands safely one kilometer from its target site.

4:30 p.m. - Shenzhou 6 deploys its red, blue and white, 1,200 square-meter parachutes.

4:13 p.m. - The spacecraft enters a communications black out period as it reenters the Earth's atmosphere.

4:07 p.m. - Shenzhou 6 jettisons its orbital module.

4:02 p.m. - Astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng report all is well aboard SHenzhou 6.

3:59 p.m. - Shenzhou 6 astronauts and Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng have done their spacesuits and strapped themselves into their chairs for reentry.

5:25 p.m. EDT

Chinese astronaut Fei Junlong will exit the Shenzhou 6 spacecraft first, China's Xinhua News Agency reports. Fei's crewmate Nie Haisheng will likely soon follow.

5:20 p.m. EDT

Medical checks of Shenzhou 6 astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng are underway at their Inner Mongolia landing site, China Central Television (CCTV) reports.

Recovery crews have opened the spacecraft's hatch, China's official Xinhua News Agency said, adding that Shenzhou 6 landed about six kilometers away from the touchdown spot of Shenzhou 5 - China's first manned spacecraft.

Shenzhou 5 launched on Oct. 15, 2003, sending astronaut Yang Liwei on a 21 1/2 -hour, 14 orbit before landing in the Siziwang Banner region of Inner Mongolia in northern China. China is the third country to build and launch humans into orbit. Shenzhou 6 is the country's second manned spaceflight and its first to carry two astronauts.

5:08 p.m. EDT

Medical teams are still enroute to Shenzhou 6's landing site, which is about one kilometer from its original target, according to China's state television and print media reports.

Initial recovery teams have already reached the spacecraft, where astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng have returned from a five-day mission. They are reportedly in good health after a safe landing, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency.

Flight controllers at China's Beijing Aerospace Control and Command Center were shown applauding on China Central Television (CCTV) after hearing of Shenzhou 6's successful landing.

5:00 p.m. EDT

The Shenzhou 6 reentry capsule landed upright at its Inner Mongolia landing site, according to reports from a recovery helicopter pilot, China's official Xinhua News Agency reports.

4:52 p.m. EDT

Shenzhou 6 astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng report that they are in "good health" after a "safe landing," Xinhua News Agency reports.

Recovery helicopters have landed near the spacecraft's landing site, which is reportedly not far from its original target, China Central Television (CCTV) reports.

4:42 p.m. EDT

China's Shenzhou 6 spacecraft and its two-astronaut crew have safely returned to Earth after an on-time Sunday landing on the grasslands of Inner Mongolia.

Shenzhou 6 astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng landed at 4:32:50 p.m. EDT (22032:50 GMT, 0432:50 Oct. 17 Beijing Time) in the Siziwang Banner region of Inner Mongolia in north China, China Central Television (CCTV) reported, adding that aside from high winds weather at the landing site was favorable.

The astronauts told flight controllers that they were "feeling good" and that the main parachutes performed well, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported.

 Six helicopters, 14 special vehicles and more than 200 recovery workers have been mobilized for Shenzhou 6's return at its primary landing site, according to Sui Qisheng, chief commander in charge of landing, Xinhua reported.

"We have drawn out detailed plans to ensure that rescue workers and equipment will arrive at where the capsule lands," Sui told Xinhua before the landing.

Fei and Nie orbited the Earth since launching spaceward atop a Long March 2F rocket on Oct. 12 Beijing Time (Oct. 11 GMT). Their mission marks China's second manned spaceflight since the launch of astronaut Yang Liwei aboard Shenzhou 5 in 2003, as well as the country's first two-astronaut mission. China is the third country to independently launch astronauts into Earth orbit after Russia and the U.S. Its Shenzhou - or "Divine Vessel" - series spacecraft borrow a basic design from Russia's Soyuz spacecraft, but are heavily modified and modernized.

The Shenzhou 6 crew flew more than 1.8 million miles (2.8 million kilometers) and orbited the Earth more than 71 times during their spaceflight, China's state media reported.

Fei and Nie have performed a series of physical experiments to test the integrity of their spacecraft, as well as cytology, earth observation and human physiology tests, Xinhua said.

The two astronauts - also known as "taikonauts" - said Sunday that they appreciated the support of their country, state media reported.

"We're grateful for the deep love and concern by all Chinese people, the Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan compatriots," Nie said in a space-to-ground transmission, according to Xinhua.

Fei reportedly added that he and Nie were "feeling good" and "happy" in Earth orbit and planned to "do our utmost to fulfill the mission," the news agency added.

The Shenzhou 6 spaceflight is designed to further China's human spaceflight experience as it works toward developing a manned space station and serve as a symbol of national pride while demonstrating the country's technological prowess.

State media reports also cited China's plans to select female astronauts for future missions.

China's Air Force Aeronautics University accepted its eighth group of female pilot trainees in July, and may prove the source of the country's first female fighter pilots and first female astronaut, Xinhua said Saturday, adding that some students are hopeful they'll make the cut.

"My dream is to become China's first female fighter pilot and first female taikonaut," Tao Jiali, a student from southwest China's Sichuan Province to the university, told Xinhua Saturday.