China completed its first-ever manual docking of two spacecrafts, bringing the country one step closer to its goal of building a space station by 2020, Bloomberg reported. Three astronauts aboard the Shenzhou IX docked with the Tiangong-1 lab module sent into orbit last year. The docking was done without relying on an automated system, state media reported. The crew plans to stay in the module for three to four days before returning to Earth, said Wu Ping, a spokeswoman for the space program. Wu added that the docking “lays a solid foundation for construction of the space station.” China will invest about US$3 billion in Shenzhou missions VII-X.
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