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Shenzhou-9 may take female astronaut to space: official


09:57, March 12, 2012

BEIJING, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Authorities have completed the initial selection of crew members for China's first manned space docking mission, and the roster includes female astronauts, an official with the country's manned space program has said.

But the final three-person crew will be decided "on the very last condition," said Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of the country's manned space program and deputy head of the General Armament Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

The manned spacecraft Shenzhou-9 will take its crew members to board the Tiangong-1 space module lab, which was launched in September last year and completed the country's first space docking with the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft in November.

The selected astronauts are in training at the moment, Niu, who is also a deputy to the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), said on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.

Assembly on the Shenzhou-9 and its carrier rocket, the Long March-2F, has been completed, and the manned space docking is due between June and August this year, he said.

"The perfect docking between Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1 has laid the perfect foundation for the manned docking this year," Niu said, noting that the manned docking will feature brand new technology.

Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace-1, has been orbiting normally for more than 160 days, and is capable of docking with Shenzhou-9 and accommodating astronauts, he said.


Leave your comment2 comments

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wende at 2012-03-1271.255.86.*
China should warn US about the closeness of its space vehicle to Tiangong. It is not far fetch that US will have its vehicle collide with Tiangong and claims it as an accident. If this should happen, it is a declaration of war.
Max at 2012-03-1281.129.91.*
Much respect for China"s space program but the first female astronaut (apart for Laika) was Valentina Tereshkova in 1963. There have been 54 others of various nationalities since!

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