BEIJING, June 13 (Xinhua) -- China's Shenzhou-10 manned spacecraft successfully completed an automated docking procedure with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module at 1:18 p.m. Thursday, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.
The docking procedure was the fifth to take place between Shenzhou-type spacecraft and the space module. Previous dockings include two automated operations by the unmanned Shenzhou-8 in 2011 and both an automated and manual docking by the manned Shenzhou-9 in 2012.
The Shenzhou-10, which was launched Tuesday afternoon from northwest China's Gobi desert, began to approach the Tiangong-1 automatically at 10:48 a.m. Thursday and made contact with the space module at 1:11 p.m..
Three astronauts aboard the Shenzhou monitored and reported the docking operation to the control center.
According to their mission schedule, the astronauts will enter the space module later and carry out scientific and technical experiments.
The Shenzhou-10 is China's fifth manned spacecraft and it is the first application-orientated flight under China's space program since the country introduced its manned space program in 1992.
The astronauts are scheduled to conduct a manual docking with the space module during their 15-day journey in space, as well as give a lecture to Earth-bound students.