Next Chinese Mission Might Include Some Women

by Fraser Cain on March 12, 2012

Long March rocket launching the Shenzhou 5. Credit: Wikimedia



Officials from the Chinese Space Agency announced today that they’ve completed crew selection for their next team of spacefarers – called taikonauts – and this time, the team includes some women.

The next major mission for China will be the first manned docking mission to the Tiangong-1 space station. This station was launched in September 2011, and was successfully docked with the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft back in November.

And so the next major step in the Chinese plans is for Shenzhou-9 to perform a manned docking with the station. Three taikonauts will be on board, and that crew might include some women – the first time the Chinese will have sent women to space.

This mission is already progressing nicely. The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and its Long March-2F rocket have been completed. And if everything goes as planned, they’ll launch and perform the manned docking some time between June and August 2012.

The final composition of the Shenzhou-9 crew hasn’t been announced yet, so it might still be a few more years before the Chinese women finally get their chance to fly to space.

Original Source: Xinhua

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Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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