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Chinese Space Capsule Docks With Lab


The Long March II-F rocket loaded with the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft lifts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province on June 16.

The Long March II-F rocket loaded with the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft lifts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province on June 16.

China says a manned spacecraft has docked with an orbiting laboratory to mark the latest milestone in China's space program.

Chinese space officials said the Shenzhou-9 capsule, with a crew of three, including one woman, linked up on June 18 with the orbiting Tiangong 1 module.

Images of the docking were broadcast live on Chinese state-run television.

The astronauts later entered the module in what was described as the first time Chinese astronauts have moved from one orbiting craft to another.

The docking was an automated procedure. In the next few days, the astronauts will attempt a manual docking.

PHOTO GALLERY: A brief history of women in space

The latest Shenzhou mission -- China's fourth manned mission into space -- was launched on June 16, taking China's first female astronaut into orbit.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP
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