Shenzhou-11 spacecraft docks with Tiangong-2 - Astronauts enter space lab

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Added On October 19, 2016

The Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft has successfully completed its automated docking with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab.
 
The two astronauts aboard the spacecraft entered the space lab Wednesday morning.
 
At 6:32 Beijing Time, commander of the mission Jing Haipeng opened the hatch of Tiangong-2 and floated into the space lab, followed later by Chen Dong.
 
The two astronauts extended greetings to all the people of the nation in the space lab, and checked the status of the space complex formed by Shenzhou-11 and Tiangong-2.
 
Before entering the space lab, the two astronauts entered Shenzhou-11's orbital compartment and removed their intravehicular mobility unit spacesuits to change into blue jumpsuits.
 
They will live in the space lab for 30 days before returning to Earth.
 
Shenzhou-11, which was launched Monday morning from northwest China's Gobi Desert, began to approach Tiangong-2 automatically at 1:11 a.m. Wednesday and made contact with the space lab at 3:24 a.m..
 
The rendezvous took place in the orbit about 393 kilometers above Earth.
 
China is the third country, after the United States and Russia, to complete successfully space rendezvous and docking procedures.
 
Tiangong-2 was sent into space on Sept. 15. 
 
It is hailed as China's first space lab "in the strict sense" and a key step in building a permanent space station, which the country aims to accomplish by 2020.