The two astronauts of China’s second manned space flight emerged smiling from their capsule after it landed in Mongolia at the end of a successful mission.Their five-day odyssey orbiting Earth has furthered Beijing’s claims to be a major player in the space race. It also unleashed a tide of patriotic fervour. Fei Julon and Nie Haisheng are the new national icons, feted in ticker-tape parades like the pioneering American and Russian astronauts. China has run its ambitious Shenzou space programme on a fraction of Nasa’s budget. State media have focused mainly on the economic benefits that the programme is expected to reap for China’s people.