BEIJING — Chinese astronauts who manually docked their spacecraft with an orbital laboratory on June 24 have proven a technology crucial for the nation’s proposed space station program. Astronaut Liu Wang, helped by his two colleagues on board Shenzhou 9, took 7 min. to bring the spacecraft into contact with the laboratory, Tiangong 1, from a range of 400 meters (1,300 ft.). That was 3 min. faster than the performance of the automatic system that Shenzhou 9 had used on June 18 and ...

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