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Measures prepared to protect astronauts health: spokeswoman

(Xinhua)

16:23, June 15, 2012

Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned space program, makes remarks at a press conference held by China's manned space docking program headquarters at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, June 15, 2012. The Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft will be launched at 6:37 p.m. (1037 GMT) on June 16, 2012. Three astronauts, two male and one female, will board China's fourth manned spacecraft to fulfill the country's first manned space docking mission. They are Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang who is female, according to the headquarters. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

JIUQUAN, June 15 (Xinhua) -- China has taken "full measures" to protect the health of the country's three astronauts, including one spacewoman, who are to participate in a manual space docking mission, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program said Friday.

"The measures are designed to combat the negative influence of the gravity-free environment of space and ensure the astronauts' health, as the mission will last for 13 days," said the spokeswoman, Wu Ping, at a televised press conference.

More medical examinations and protection measures will be conducted in space aboard the spacecraft Shenzhou-9, compared with the country's previous manned missions, according to Wu.

They will include an on-orbit examination of the astronauts' hearts, lungs and biochemistry conditions, as well as providing more medicine and medical security measures and carrying out hygienic processing in the cabin, to ensure a timely check on the astronauts' health and effective prevention against space motion sickness.

Equipment like a bicycle ergometer, chest developer and neuromuscular electrical stimulation have been prepared on board to protect the astronauts against weightlessness and maintain their cardiac and muscular functions, the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile, the female astronaut will receive particular protections in medical examinations and exercises, and both space program design and onboard care arrangements have taken into full consideration of the female physical condition, Wu added.

But Wu also noted that despite all these measures, the astronauts are likely to suffer orthostatic intolerance after their long weightless flight, and they will still need time to readapt to Earth's gravity.

The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft is expected to send three Chinese astronauts, two male and one female, into space Saturday to fulfill the country's first manned space docking mission.

The launch platform and all control systems are ready. Astronauts are in good and stable condition and preparing for their space journey, according to China's manned space docking program headquarters.

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