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Next Chinese Mission Might Include Some Women

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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • nafin March 12, 2012, 11:01 PM

    That is a gorgeous photo.

    I have a question for our resident science folk: I am under the impression that when the flames shooting out of the rocket have that diamond pattern the gas is moving faster than te speed of sound, is there some sort of resonance that causes them to sync like they do in the picture or is that an illusion or technical feat?

  • Geri Shalnev March 13, 2012, 4:05 AM

    Does it bother anyone else that “taiko” in Japanese means “drum”? And yes, I know it’s two different languages.

    • Yiming Hu March 13, 2012, 10:56 AM

      In Chinese, astronauts are known as Tai Kong Ren, namely people in the space, and I guess “taikongaut” is not a good way to write a word. However, a more official way to call an astronaut is actually Yu Huang Yuan, one who sail in the space, I wander why they don’t just use astronaut.

      • squidgeny March 13, 2012, 1:08 PM

        According to wikipedia, the Chinese government uses “astronaut” in english texts. I think it’s mostly the western media who use “taikonaut”.

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