By Wang Qingchu | 2012-6-18 | ONLINE EDITION
CHINA'S Shenzhou-9 spacecraft will automatically dock with the orbiting Tiangong1 space lab module around 11am today, China News Service said today.
China successfully launched the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft to send the country's first female and two other astronauts into space on Saturday. The Long March-2F rocket blasted off at 6:37pm from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest Gansu Province.
The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft is expected to complete an automated docking procedure today and a manual docking later.
After the automated docking, astronauts will enter the Tiangong1 space lab to carry out scientific experiments, technical tests and physical exercises, as well as to take rests.
If all goes to plan, the spacecraft and the space lab will separate and dock again manually, to prepare the technology for a permanent space station.
A manual docking would demonstrate a grasp of essential space rendezvous and docking know-how and be a major step forward in China's manned space program to build a space station around 2020.