China’s Shenzhou 9 Crew Docks With Tiangong-1 Space Station

China performed its first human docking on Monday:

China’s Shenzhou 9 space capsule — which launched Saturday carrying three astronauts, including the country’s first female spaceflier — linked up automatically with the unmanned Tiangong 1 space lab just after 2 p.m. Monday Beijing time (2 a.m. ET), according to CCTV.

The only other countries to pull off an orbital docking with a manned spacecraft are the United States and then-Soviet Russia, which first did so in 1966 and 1969, respectively.

Shenzhou 9 was to dock with Tiangong 1 twice. The plan called for the first hookup to be conducted in automated mode, following the pattern set last November during an all-robotic docking between Tiangong and an unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft. At some point, the two spacecraft will separate, and the three taikonauts, as China’s astronauts are known, will perform the second docking under manual control.

Read more at MSNBC.