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Astronauts into space module (2)

By XIN DINGDING (China Daily)

09:09, June 14, 2013

Photo taken on June 13, 2013 shows the screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center showing a simulated picture of an automated docking between the Shenzhou-X manned spacecraft and the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module. [Photo/Xinhua]

The three astronauts, clad in blue spacesuits, then floated into the module one by one. They later waved to a camera in the module.

In coming days they will live in the space module, carrying out scientific and technical experiments and giving a lecture to students on Earth, Wu Ping, spokeswoman for the program, said.

There will also be a manual docking between Shenzhou X and the module, although Wu did not give a date for this.

The mission is expected to help scientists verify and improve space rendezvous and docking technology, crucial for assembling an orbiting space station.

Space rendezvous and docking is a technically difficult procedure, with both vessels moving at 28,000 kilometers per hour during the docking, making the maneuver highly risky.

Jiao Weixin,a space scientist at Peking University, said space rendezvous and docking is hard to master. "It is like asking two racing cars to keep a distance of 1 meter between them."

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