BEIJING, June 24 (UPI) -- China's president has spoken with three astronauts conducting scientific tests in the country's orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module, officials said.
President Xi Jinping came to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center Monday to offer greetings to the three astronauts, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
They had re-entered the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module from their Shanzhou-10 spacecraft Sunday after successfully completing a separation and manual docking exercise.
Launched June 11 from northwest China's Gobi desert, the Shenzhou-10 successfully completed an automated docking procedure with the Tiangong-1 June 13.
In the separation and re-docking exercise, astronaut Nie Haisheng piloted the spacecraft while the other two crew members, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping, monitored instruments.
The Tiangong-1 space lab, which has been in orbit for more than 600 days, is considered the first step in building a permanent Chinese space station by 2020.