The excitement and tension are becoming palpable in the Beijing Aerospace Control Center on Wednesday night as the Shenzhou VIII spacecraft and Tiangong-1 space lab module come together to complete their "kiss".
Chinese expedition teams in Antarctica will soon have better logistical support as the country plans to build an aviation support and emergency response system for its scientific research activities in this area.
President Hu Jintao, who is in France for the G-20 summit, sent a congratulatory message on the success of the country's first-ever space docking.Docking feat ignites China's space ambition
China will complete the second step of its three-phase development strategy for its manned space program by establishing its own space lab around 2016 and will establish a manned space station around 2020.
China's unmanned spacecraft Shenzhou-8 and its space lab module Tiangong-1, which joined together early Thursday, will fly together for about 12 days and then conduct the second space docking at an appropriate time.