China to send its first woman into space

The space mission’s major task is to conduct a manual docking between the spacecraft and the orbiting space lab module Tiangong-1 for the first time in addition to another automatic docking, said Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China’s manned space programme at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre.

Soaring into history: Veteran pilot Liu Yang will be China’s first woman in space. Pic/AFP

Three astronauts — two male and one female — will be onboard the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft to fulfil the first manual space docking test.┬áThe two male astronauts are Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang, while Liu Yang is the female astronaut, Wu added.The first Chinese female astronaut Liu Yang (33), is an air force major. She is a veteran pilot with 1,680 hours of flying experience.

She was also the deputy head of a flight unit of the Chinese Air Force before being recruited in May 2010 into China’s second batch of prospective astronauts. After two years of training that has shored up her astronautic skills and adaptability to the space environment, Liu excelled in testing and was selected in March this year as a candidate to crew the Shenzhou-9.

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