Chinese spacecraft docked

Another first for China

A Chinese spacecraft docked with an orbiting module on Monday, another first for the country as it tries to join the ranks of American and Russian exploits in space.

The Shenzhou 9 capsule completed the maneuver with the Tiangong 1 module 213 miles above Earth. The docking was a first for Chinese astronauts.

The astronauts will live and work in the module for several days as part of preparations for a permanent space station.

Monday’s docking was completed by remote control from a ground base in China. A manual dockingis scheduled for later in the mission and will be carried out by one of the crew members,.

First Chinese Woman in Space

The crew includes 33-year-old Liu Yang, an air force pilot and the first Chinese woman in space. There are also two male crew members — veteran astronaut Jing Haipeng and newcomer Liu Wang.

The mission is being given additional publicity due to the selection of the first female astronaut.

“Arranging for women astronauts to fly is not only a must for the development of human spaceflight, but also the expectation of the public,” space program spokeswoman Wu Ping said. “This is a landmark event.”

Prior to the launch, Liu Yang said: “We won’t let you down. We will work together and successfully complete this mission.”

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