Chinese astronauts aboard Shenzhou-9 continue to rack up milestones. The crew--which has been living and working aboard the Tiangong-1 orbiting module, China's first stab at a working space station, for a week now--returned to the Shenzhou spacecraft early Sunday, disconnected from Tiangong-1, and docked with it again manually (the spacecraft originally docked with the Tiangong module via remote control from a ground station in China).
Here at PopSci we don't like to spread rumors. And that's how I generally like to start off a post wherein I intend to propagate some kind of hearsay rooted mostly in speculation. Hearsay like this: America's X-37B spaceplane, the shuttle-like unmanned robotic orbiter that the Air Force put into orbit for the second time back in March, is probably (possibly) spying on China's Tiangong-1 space station.
China has been dabbling in space station technology for years now, but until this week the nation's aims were less than concrete, mostly consisting of plans to launch testbed technologies into orbit at some nebulous future date. Yesterday, China cleared up any doubt about its space station ambitions, unveiling an ambitious plan to build its own orbiting space station within the next ten years.