Three Chinese astronauts have started their return journey to Earth from the Tiangong space station, which was under construction.
The Shenzhou-12 (Divine Vessel) spacecraft magic ship carrying astronauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, undocked from the core module Tianhe of the station ahead of their return journey, Chinese state media reported.
State broadcaster CCTV spoke of the last day before the official landing mission, which indicated that the astronauts are expected to return to Earth on Friday.
The capsule was supposed to touch down in Inner Mongolia in northern China.
A search and rescue team was ready on Thursday. However, no time for the return had been officially announced.
The Chinese astronauts spent around three months in space, China’s longest manned space mission to date.
The launch of a rocket with additional cargo for the new station was prepared on Thursday at the Wenchang spaceport on the southern Chinese island of Hainan.
Afterwards, a new crew was to be flown to the space station in the next few weeks, which was scheduled for completion by the end of 2022.
The country had more missions planned for decades ahead.