A capsule carrying three Chinese astronauts is reported to have docked with the Tiangong-1 space laboratory. The procedure came two days after the crew blasted off from Inner Mongolia on a Long March 2F rocket. The team plans to spend just under two weeks at the space laboratory, in the country’s longest manned space mission. While there, astronaut Wang Yaping, China’s second woman in space, will beam a lesson from the laboratory to students back on Earth.
The Xinhua news agency said the automated docking procedure with the orbiting Tiangong-1 module was successfully completed at 13:18 Beijing time (05:18 GMT). China’s fifth manned mission, designated Shenzhou-10, is the latest step in its plan to put a permanently manned station above the Earth by the end of the decade. Tiangong-1 is the demonstrator. It was launched in 2011 to provide a target to test rendezvous and docking technologies. This team will practise a manual docking during their stay, unlocking their capsule from the lab and then re-attaching with Commander Nie Haisheng at the controls. Via Chinese capsule docks with space laboratory.