SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — China’s state television has announced that the country has launched its latest manned space mission and sent its first woman into space.
The Shenzhou-9 rocket was launched on Saturday from the Jiuquan spaceport on the edge of the northwestern Gobi desert.
China’s first female astronaut, Liu Yang, along with two male astronauts is heading to the Tiangong space lab. She will conduct aerospace medical experiments and other space tests there.
"Arranging for women astronauts to fly is not only a must for the development of human spaceflight, but also the expectation of the public," space program spokeswoman Wu Ping said.
The crew will spend over a week living and working on the vessel before manually docking to the prototype space lab in a key step toward building a permanent space station.
“The manual space rendezvous... is a huge test for astronauts' ability to judge spatial position, eye-hand coordination and psychological abilities," Jing Haipeng, who is heading the crew, said to reporters ahead of the launch.
China hopes to join the United States and Russia as the only countries to send independently maintained space stations into orbit. — www.shafaqna.com