China launches it’s first female ‘taikonaut’ into space

Saturday’s launch of a piloted space capsule known as Shenzhou-9 marks China’s breakthrough into the exclusive club once made up only of the United States and Russia.

One of the three astronauts in the capsule is a woman, 33-year-old Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space.

Shenzhou-9 was launched at 6:37 p.m (local time) against a vivid blue sky from the Jiuquan space station at the edge of the Gobi Desert. Televised nationally, the launch prompted a round of applause in the command center as the capsule separated from its carrier rocket and entered orbit.

The trickiest part of the mission will come when the capsule docks with the Tiangong 1 space module, a prototype of a space station about the size of a school bus, which is orbiting about 213 miles above Earth.

Learn more, including how the U.S. Congress has banned China from the International Space Station…so they’re building their own:

L.A. Times: China launches rocket carrying its first female astronaut

 

June 16, 2012 – shows the screen at the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center showing China’s astronauts Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang after launch. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)

 

June 16, 2012 – combined photo shows the process of the launch of Long March-2F carrier rocket from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China’s Gansu Province. (Xinhua/Li Gang)

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