China's astrnauts on board the Shenzhou-9 will attempt to manually dock with the Tiangong-1 Lab that is already in orbit, and this will be the first time it will have been done. During the docking, the automated system will be switched off requiring the two male and one female astronaut to make very precise maneuvers to complete the docking.
The three Chinese astronauts, Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang, lifted off June 16 and are due to dock with the lab Saturday.
Liu Wang will be in charge of the manual docking maneuvers, while Liu Yang will conduct aerospace experiments, according to AFP news agency. The manual docking is part of China's growth towards being able to complete its own space station by 2020.
Both the United States and Russia successfully learned to manually dock back in the 1960s.