China to honor Shenzhou-12 astronauts with medals



Three astronauts, or taikonauts , of the Shenzhou-12 spaceflight mission will be awarded medals for their service to China's space endeavors, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the State Council, and the Central Military Commission jointly announced on Tuesday.

Nie Haisheng, commander of the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft, will be honored with a first-class aerospace achievement medal. Nie has performed three manned spaceflights – including the Shenzhou-6 mission in 2005 and the Shenzhou-10 mission in 2013 – and served as commander twice. On September 6, he became the first Chinese astronaut to spend 100 days in orbit.

Liu Boming, who conducted extravehicular activities twice during the Shenzhou-12 mission, will be awarded a second-class aerospace achievement medal.

Tang Hongbo will be conferred with a third-class medal and the honorary title of Heroic Astronaut.

The three taikonauts were sent into space and entered China's space station core module Tianhe on June 17. The crew carried out extravehicular activities twice during their 90 days in orbit, setting a new record for the longest space stay in a single flight for Chinese astronauts.

As the first crew sent into orbit for space station construction, the trio completed their three-month mission and returned to Earth safely on September 17.