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6/28/2012 BEIJING (AP) - A Chinese space capsule with three astronauts aboard returned to Earth on Friday from a 13-day mission to an orbiting module that is a prototype for a future permanent station.

The crew of the Shenzhou 9 parachuted to a landing on the grasslands of the country's sprawling Inner Mongolia region at about 10 a.m. (0200 GMT). China declared the mission to the Tiangong 1 module a major stride ahead for the country's ambitious space program.

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