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Shenzhou 9's three-person crew, including China's first female astronaut  (Source:
The Shenzhou 9 made its way into space on a Chinese Long March 2F rocket on Saturday, June 16

China successfully completed its first manned docking in space today using the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft and the Tiangong 1 space module.

"We are one step closer to our destination of constructing a future space station," said an official with China's space program. "This is the first successful crew transportation mission for China."

The Shenzhou 9 made its way into space on a Chinese Long March 2F rocket on Saturday, June 16. It launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gansu province in northern China.

The Shenzhou 9 successfully docked at the Tiangong 1 space module in automatic mode today, marking the first manned docking for China. China is the third country (after the United States and Russia) to make such a quest.

But the docking isn't the only historic marker for China. The three-person crew aboard the Shenzhou 9 consisted of China's first female astronaut, Liu Yang. The other two astronauts were Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang.

"I feel honored to fly into space on behalf of hundreds of millions of Chinese females," said Liu.

The Shenzhou 9 will remain docked at the Tiangong 1 until later this week, and then re-dock for another test in manual mode. The spacecraft is expected to be in orbit for 13 days.

The Tiangong 1 was launched into space in September 2011, and the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft linked up to it in November. Today's manned docking represented a whole new first for the country.

China described its five-year space plans in a report released by the government last December. According to the blueprint, the country wants to construct space stations, ship freighters, space laboratories and a manned spaceship through the end of 2016.
China also said it plans to use probes to explore the moon's surface as well as asteroids, planets and the sun, and it wants to improve launch vehicles, meteorological
satellites, communications and broadcasting to form a global satellite navigation system.


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RE: Riddle me this, Batman....
By Motoman on 6/19/2012 9:11:33 AM , Rating: 2
The People's Republic is not the Taliban. They educate everyone equally.

RE: Riddle me this, Batman....
By Reclaimer77 on 6/19/2012 1:39:07 PM , Rating: 1
It takes more than "education" to become an astronaut. You need equal opportunity. This is nothing but a PR stunt because women in China are considered anything but equals.

RE: Riddle me this, Batman....
By Amiga500 on 6/19/2012 6:12:56 PM , Rating: 2
In terms of education, that is absolute tripe reclaimer.

I assume you've never worked with any Chinese engineers then? There is a good chance they'd be female... certainly a much higher chance than in any western country.

RE: Riddle me this, Batman....
By Reclaimer77 on 6/19/2012 8:20:07 PM , Rating: 2
Right, you can be an engineer. Just don't have more than two kids or we'll force an abortion on you. China is just awesome when it comes to women's rights huh?

RE: Riddle me this, Batman....
By Amiga500 on 6/20/2012 5:33:58 AM , Rating: 2
I think that affects the 2nd child (a helluva lot more than anyone else!), as well as the father and of course the mother.

I wouldn't even come close to declaring that solely a women's rights issue!

RE: Riddle me this, Batman....
By lagomorpha on 6/20/2012 8:56:32 AM , Rating: 2
The fewer children women have, the more educated they have an opportunity to become. I'd call a one child policy a lot less oppressive to women than one that denies them contraception and tells them they have no choice but to become brood mares.

That aside, would you really want to see a China with a population that doubles every 50 years or so?

RE: Riddle me this, Batman....
By inperfectdarkness on 6/20/2012 2:17:06 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. Education isn't really the's finding a female talent-pool that's the issue. My comment was directed at the obviously already small percentage of women who desire (and can effectively perform in) the field of space flight. China's draconian policies towards births, coupled with their woefully rigid patriarchial system, effectively relegates women to scarcely better off than living under the Taliban--ironically enough.

Would you rather be executed at birth (or aborted in vitro), or be persecuted your entire life? Yes...China completely deserves to be on the UN human rights committee.

RE: Riddle me this, Batman....
By lagomorpha on 6/20/2012 9:01:39 AM , Rating: 3
Yes...China completely deserves to be on the UN human rights committee.

Well look at the company they're in on that committee:

Egypt (current leader in the polls for President wants to deport all non-Muslims)
South Africa
Ireland (divorce was illegal until 1995)

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