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Thursday, July 9, 2009

1st Chinese woman in space

Amidst the madness in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region, some good news. Public relations vehicle or not, surely, this can only be good for the human race as women and men continue to learn to seek that middle path with each other.


1st Chinese woman in space
Source - The Straits Times 9 July 2009

BEIJING - CHINA could launch its first woman into space as early as 2012, state media reported on Thursday.
Yang Liwei, who in 2003 became China's first astronaut and is now in charge of new recruits for the space programme, said the search for the first woman in space was under way, the China Daily said.

'I believe Chinese women will soon be seen in space,' said Mr Yang during a webchat, the paper reported.

Sui Guosheng, an officer in charge of recruitment with the Chinese Air Force, said the female 'taikonaut,' China's word for astronauts, was expected to blast off in 2012.

The potential female astronauts would be recruited from among 16 female fighter pilots who graduated in April, Sui told the Nanfang Weekly, according to the China Daily report.

The pilots, who were chosen from 150,000 high school graduates, were the first batch of Chinese women qualified to fly fighter jets, the report said.

China became the third nation to put a man in space when Mr Yang piloted the one-man Shenzhou-5 space mission in 2003, part of the country's rising space ambitions.

The Chang'e-1 probe was launched in 2007 and is the first stage of China's lunar programme, which includes landing an unmanned rover on the surface by 2012 and a manned mission by around 2020.

The world's first female astronaut was the Soviet Union's Valentina Tereshkova, who stayed in space for three days in 1963. -- AFP