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China's first female astronaut to improve Shenzhou-9 crew's efficiency: spokesperson

(Xinhua)

16:20, June 15, 2012

JIUQUAN, June 15 (Xinhua) -- China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang, is expected to improve the Shenzhou-9 mission crew's working efficiency, a spokeswoman of China's manned space program said Friday.

"Generally speaking, female astronauts have better durability, psychological stability and ability to deal with loneliness," Wu Ping said at a press conference at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center.

She added that a manned space program without the participation of women would be incomplete.

More than 50 female astronauts from seven countries have to date served in space missions. The longest space flight by a female astronaut lasted 188 days.

"The fact fully proves that female astronauts are completely competent for fulfilling space flight missions," Wu said while briefing the press just ahead of the imminent Shenzhou-9 manned space mission to be launched on Saturday.

The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft will send Liu Yang, 33, and two male astronauts, Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang, into an orbit where they will manually dock Shenzhou-9 with awaiting Tiangong-1 space experimental module.

All countries that have completed manned space missions attached great significance to their respective first female astronaut's maiden space flight, Wu said, citing the former Soviet Union's first female astronaut Valentina Tereshkova and Sally Ride, the first American woman in space.

"The Chinese female astronaut's participation in the manned space mission will accelerate research and development of female astronaut-related products, training and selection," said Wu.

"It could also showcase Chinese women's good image and further promote social influence of the country's manned space program," the spokeswoman said.

"As a female, I'm looking forward to the performance of China's first female astronaut's space flight," she said.

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