June 18, 2012

Chinese spacecraft carrying three astronauts docks with orbiting module

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 p.m. 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.

The June 18 docking was completed by remote control from a ground base in China. A manual docking carried out by one of the crewmembers is scheduled for later.

Two crewmembers plan to conduct medical tests and experiments inside the module, while the third will remain in the spacecraft. AP

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