(Colombo Lankapuvath) China has launched its first manned space docking mission, including the country’s first ever woman astronaut. China moves one step closer to becoming the second nation in the world performing regular space flights.
The Shenzhou 9 spacecraft was successfully launched at 10:37 GMT from the Jiuquan launch center in China's north-west Gansu province boosting the country’s hopes of realizing its space ambitions.
On her debut flight 33-year-old Liu Yang joins two male colleagues on board Shenzhou 9.
Liu, air force pilot who enlisted in the People's Liberation Army in 1997, was recruited to be an astronaut in May 2010.
Chinese space program officials have proudly declared that Liu’s entire training program was carried out by China.
“We highly appreciate mutual cooperation with Russia in the space sphere, but training of the woman-astronaut was carried out absolutely independently,” space program spokeswoman Wu Ping said, adding that the launch was “a landmark event.”
The spacecraft will dock with the Tiangong 1 space station module, as China seeks to establish a permanent base in orbit. The main goal of the mission is to launch a manned spacecraft and work out docking procedure – both manned and automatic, the spokeswoman announced.
It was also reported that two of the astronauts will live and work inside the module to test its life-support systems while the third will stay in the capsule to deal with any unexpected emergencies.
The entire mission will last more than 10 days, after which the astronauts will travel back to Earth in the capsule, landing in gralsslands in western Chinese.
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