China has taken a key step in achieving its ambition to build a manned space station, completing its first successful high-altitude docking.
Shenzhou 8 spacecraft joins the Tiangong-
1 Experimental Module in 4.
Today, 37am AEDT silently connects more than 343 kilometers above the Earth's surface, Xinhua reported.
The ship's name, translated into "sacred spacecraft", is an improved version of the capsule that sent the first Chinese astronaut into space as part of an ambitious exploration plan for the rising power.
China's goal is to complete the construction of the space station by 2020, which requires China to improve docking technology.
The Russians and Americans successfully completed a subtle move in the 1960 s.
The technology is difficult to master because the two ships placed in the same orbit and rotated around the Earth at a high speed must gradually gather together to avoid mutual destruction.
China sees its space program as a symbol of its global status, its growing technical expertise, and the Communist Party's success in reversing the fate of poverty --Affected countries
Chinese leaders, including Premier Wen Jiabao, watched the live broadcast of the docking at the Beijing Aerospace flight control center, while President Hu Jintao, who is attending the G20 summit in France, sent a congratulatory letter.
The docking time is 8 minutes, and the auxiliary equipment includes microwave radar, laser length meter and camera.
The two ships, weighing about 8 tons each, were successfully captured, buffered, connected and locked, Xinhua reported.
"Connect two vehicles driving at 7: 00.
The orbit is 8 km kilometers per second and the error is no more than 20 cm, as "needle in a haystack," said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space program.
"This will make it possible for China to explore space on a larger scale.
"China now has the technology and capability to build a space station, he said, adding that the Shenzhou 8 could be used as a prototype for a series of spaceships.
Xinhua said China plans to carry out more than 20 manned space flights over the next decade.
A Chinese astronaut coach is one of six volunteers who will come to the outside world on Friday after being isolated for nearly 18 months at a research center in Russia, to test the flight to Mars.
After buying Russian technology, China began its manned space program in 1990 and became the third country to send humans into space after the former Soviet Union and the United States in 2003.
On September 2008, Shenzhou VII, which was driven by three astronauts, made China's first spacewalk.
The Shenzhou 8 spacecraft took off from Jiuquan base in Gansu province on Tuesday, Tiangong-1 -
Or "Tiangong "-
Also launched in September 29.
Wu Ping, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program, said the two ships will remain in contact for about 12 days before they are separated and United.