BEIJING — A Chinese spacecraft carrying three astronauts docked manually with an orbiting module on Sunday, a first for the country as it strives to match American and Russian exploits in space.
The Shenzhou 9 capsule’s maneuver with the Tiangong 1 module was shown live on national television. It follows a docking last week that was carried out by remote control from a ground base in China.
The Chinese astronauts have been living and working in the module for the past week as part of preparations for manning a permanent space station. They returned to the Shenzhou 9 capsule early Sunday and disconnected in preparation for the manual reconnection.