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|2012-06-18 - Weird News|
Chinese spacecraft in orbit, to dock with space lab
-- Windsor Genova - Fourth Estate Cooperative News Writer
Beijing, China (4E) - China's spacecraft carrying the first Chinese female astronaut is to dock with the country's orbiting space lab on Monday.
The Shenzhou-9 capsule, which also carries two Chinese male astronauts, successfully lifted off Saturday from the Jiuquan spaceport as China attempts its first manned docking mission with the Tiangong 208 miles above Earth.
Jing Haipeng, 46, Liu Wang, 42, and Liu Yang, 33, will conduct an automated and manual docking. They will then spend a week aboard the space lab to test new systems and conduct scientific experiments.
Jing is the commander and has gone to space in 2008. Liu Wang and Liu Yang are doing their first space flight. Liu Yang, the female astronaut, will conduct medical experiments in the Tiangong lab.
China plans to construct a bigger space lab in the future and the docking procedure is crucial to realize the goal. The planned space station is only 60 tons, far smaller than the 400-ton International Space Station operated by the US, Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan.
China also plans to launch and put a rover on the lunar surface.
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