Chinese spacecraft docks with orbiting module
BEIJING - The Associated Press
The rocket with the Chinese 'Shenzhou-9' spacecraft carrying three taikonauts - the Chinese term for professional space travellers - lifts off from its launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan in northwest China's Gansu province, on 16 June 2012. EPA Photo
A Chinese spacecraft carrying three astronauts has docked with an orbiting module where they will live and work for several days as part of preparations for crewing a permanent space station.
The Shenzhou 9 capsule completed the maneuver as scheduled shortly after 2:00 p.m. (0600 GMT) as the Tiangong 1 module orbited 343 kilometers above Earth.
The capsule's crew includes 33-year-old Liu Yang, an air force pilot and China's first female space traveler.
Monday's docking was completed by remote control from a ground base in China. A manual docking carried out by one of the crew members is scheduled for later.
Two crew members plan to conduct medical tests and experiments inside the module, while the third will remain in the spacecraft.