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Chinese spacecraft docks with national orbital module (VIDEO)


A Shenzhou-9 spacecraft with three people on board has successfully carried out an automatic space docking mission on Monday. The Chinese are now a step closer to creating a national manned space station.

The spacecraft blasted off on Saturday for a 13-day mission. China’s first female space explorer, 33-year-old Liu Yang, is among the three crew members.

Monday’s docking with the Tiangong-1 orbital module is the third such maneuver performed by the Chinese, although it has not previously been done by a manned spacecraft.

The crew is expected to undock in six days and carry out a manual docking, which will be one of the highlights of the ongoing mission. The ability to perform the tricky procedure is essential for China’s ambitious plan to have a national manned space station operating by 2020.

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