Shenzhou-11 spacecraft successfully docks with Tiangong-2

Beijing: The Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft successfully completed its automated docking with Tiangong-2 space lab , according to Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

Shenzhou-11, which was launched Monday morning from China’s Gobi Desert, docked with the space lab at 3.31 a.m. on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The rendezvous took place in the orbit about 393 km above Earth.

The two astronauts aboard Shenzhou-11, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, monitored and reported on the docking operation, relaying their findings to the control centre.

According to the mission schedule, once they enter the space module, the astronauts will spend a total of 33 days in space.

Shenzhou-11, China’s sixth manned spacecraft, will undertake the longest-ever space mission in the country.

China is the third country, after the United States and Russia, to successfully complete space rendezvous and docking procedures.

Tiangong-2 was sent into space on September 15, 2016. It is a key step in building a permanent space station, which the country aims to accomplish by 2020.