China's Shenzhou-9 carrying the first female astronaut into space has successfully docked with the Tiangong-1 space lab.

The docking of the spacecraft, launched on Saturday, occurred around 14:00 Beijing time (06:00 GMT) in space.

China becomes the third country after Russia and the US in successful space docking.

The astronaut team of three including a woman will fly around the earth in the space lab for the next two weeks at around 7 km per second. They are expected to enter the space lab a few hours after the docking.

Many experiments are being scheduled during the flight including medical tests on the human body.

Shenzhou-9 took 33-year old woman Liu Yang along with the Commander Jing Haipeng, 46 and a flight engineer Liu Wang, 42.

The space vehicle carried the astronauts to the orbiting space lab after a series of engine burns. The docking procedures were fully automated and not operated by the astronauts in the vehicle. The crew will try their hands in manual docking of the vehicle in the next few days during their flight.

Shenzhou-9 weighs around 8,000 kg and it is around 9.20 metres long. The spacecraft is equipped with navigation, communications, flight control, thermal control, batteries, oxygen tanks, and propulsion systems. This is China's fourth manned-mission to space.

The docking procedure occurred at an altitude of about 340 kms and the woman astronaut Liu was video-taping the union, reported the BBC.

Last year, an unmanned Shenzhou-8 was launched into space for rendezvous and docking manoeuvres at the same space lab.

"The rocket was designed with a higher degree of reliability and equipped with more advanced positioning software to ensure a more precise entry into orbit," Nasa quoted Liang Xiaohong deputy head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, as saying.

This is reportedly the second stage of the Chinese operations where the aim is to build an independent space station in 2020.

Although China is far ahead compared to other countries in space technology, it is yet to catch up with US and Russian technology.

The docking shows the latest strides China has taken in space technology.