China's space program has its first successful in-orbit docking

China has been charging ahead at full speed with their plans to build a space station by 2020, and on Wednesday they reached another milestone with a successful docking between the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft and the Tiangong-1 module.

The unmanned craft will remain docked for about 12 days, before separating and docking all over again just to be sure there are no bugs in the system. If all goes well, Shenzou 9 and 10 scheduled for later this year are expected to be manned, possibly including China's first female Astronaut.

While China's space program is moving ahead at a blinding pace, it's important to remember that they have a few advantages. By learning from mistakes made by the U.S. and Soviet programs they can avoid a lot of potential pitfalls, and they also benefit from the massive advances in technology over the last 40 years. These days an iPhone has more computing power than the Apollo 8 module could muster in 1969.

BBC News, via PopSci

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