Saturday, June 16, 2012

Chinese women in Space

China will send its first woman into space Saturday along with two other
astronauts to work on a temporary space station for about a week, in a key step
toward becoming the only third nation to set up a permanent base in orbit.

Liu Yang will join Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang as part of a three-person crew
aboard the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, which, if successful, will conduct a historic
docking with China's orbiting space module.

Like Wang Yaping, the other woman considered for the coveted slot, Liu Yang is
married, in her early 30s and chosen among China's first batch of women
astronauts because of her strong flying record and mental toughness.

The launch of China's first woman taikonaut (which combines the Chinese
"taikong," or space, and the Greek "nautes," or sailor) into space would come
exactly 49 years to the day that the former Soviet Union put its first woman,
Valentina Tereshkova, into space.

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