Chinese spacecraft carrying 3 astronauts docks with orbiting module

The Associated Press

BEIJING, China - 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 manoeuvre as scheduled shortly after 2:00 p.m. as the Tiangong 1 module orbited 343 kilometres above Earth.

The capsule's crew includes 33-year-old Liu Yang, an air force pilot and China's first female space traveller.

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.