Relatives and townsfolks of Shenzhou VI astronauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng celebrated the safe return of the two taikonauts in their own way.
The entrance of astronaut Nie Haisheng's home in Zaoyang, Hubei Province, was decorated with colorful banners. A crowd of townsfolk with little national flags in their hands gathered together inside the main hall of the house, tuning in to a live broadcast on the return journey of the Shenzhou VI spaceship.
Everyone cheered when the TV anchorman proclaimed the re-entry capsule of the Shenzhou VI with the two astronauts had safely landed inside the Gobi desert in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at 4:33 AM
Nie Xiansheng, astronaut Nie's younger brother, said, "I feel proud of my elder brother and I will take good care of the family so that my elder brother can feel relieved and work wholeheartedly."
Nie Daoqin, Nie Haisheng's elder sister, said, "When Haisheng was orbiting earth in the spaceship, the whole family watched TV all day long, our hearts turning to him at every moment. Whenever Mom saw snapshots featuring my younger brother Nie, she was excited to tears."
Zhang Qunshan, Nie Haisheng's elder brother in-law, boasted they anticipated the astronauts' safe return because of the country's scientific and technological progress and the great attention of the Party and the government given to the mission.
Astronaut Fei Junlong is from Feijiabang of Bacheng Township of Kunshan, Jiangsu Province. Both of his parents, Fei Changbao, 69, the father, and Qian Alin, 71, the mother, tuned in to the TV as early as 2 AM in the morning, in order to get an early glimpse of the their beloved son.
The couple were accompanied by a group of townsfolk who were seated inside the courtyard of the Fei family, where a big rear projection TV was erected for the live broadcast of the space mission.
When the two astronauts emerged from the re-entry capsule at 5:38 AM after completing a 115-hour-and-33-minute space flight, Astronaut Fei's parents, and Astronaut Nie's relatives, burst into tears.
Fireworks were then set off in celebration in the home places of both astronauts, followed traditional lion and dragon dances amidst heavy drumbeats and gongs.
(Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2005)