[China Daily]Heroine Pilot Liu Yang Expected to be 1st Female Astronaut of Shenzhou-9
    2012-06-14 15:31:00     China Daily         Web Editor: Liu Bing

China's female astronaut candidate Liu Yang (L) [Photo/sina.com]

China's female astronaut candidate Liu Yang (L) [Photo/sina.com]

China's Tiangong-1 space module has been specially designed for females, as the country's first woman astronaut will join Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft docking mission this week and live in the Tiangong for 13 days.

Despite the module being only 15 cubic meters inside, the female astronaut will have a separate toilet and bedroom that is soundproof to protect her privacy, Pang Zhihao, a researcher with the China Academy of Space Technology, said yesterday.
 
"She will also be able to take a sponge bath with more water supply than that of her male counterparts, according to international conventions, and even bring some specially made cosmetics into space," said Pang.
 
Three astronauts, including a woman, have arrived at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu Province and are undergoing final tests.
 
The spacecraft will perform China's first manned space docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module to let the astronauts enter. Live butterflies also will be taken into the space for scientific experiments.
 
A wide range of food has been prepared for the astronauts. More than 80 categories of food and condiments, including vinegar and pepper, are stored in the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, far more than on any of the country's previous missions, Pang said.
 
The astronauts also will bring a food heater for the first time to ensure hot meals every day.
 
Their daily life also will be colorful. Apart from scientific experiments, they can watch movies on a laptop computer and send emails with attachments up to 8 megabytes via satellite.
 
"They can also have video conversations in the cabin with their families," Pang said.
 
Two women pilots from the Wuhan Flight Unit, including a backup, were picked for the mission. Either Liu Yang or Wang Yaping will become the nation's first woman in space, said Qi Faren, former chief designer of the Shenzhou spaceship series.
 
They are selected from 15 women who must be married and have given birth naturally, according to Space International magazine of the China Academy of Space Technology. They also must have no scars or body odor.

Liu Yang was taking part in a routine PLA flight when her plane had a large bird strike shortly after takeoff.

The windshield splattered with blood and the cockpit filled with a burning smell after it hit 18 pigeons. Liu managed to stabilize the plane and made a successful emergency landing 11 minutes after the incident occurred.

Born in Henan province in 1978, Liu enrolled into Changchun No 1 Flight College of the PLA Air Force after graduating from high school and later became an Air Force cargo plane pilot.

In China, pilots with the experience of dealing with emergencies are preferred for astronaut selection.

Numerous reports claim Liu Yang and Wang Yaping are China's two female astronaut candidates. One of them will be selected as a crew member of the Shenzhou IX manned space mission, becoming China's first female astronaut.

 

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