Chinese female astronauts may catch flight

March 12th, 2012 - 2:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, March 12 (IANS) The initial selection of crew members for China’s first manned space docking mission has been completed, and it includes female astronauts, an official said.

But the final three-person crew will be decided “on the very last condition”, said Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of the country’s manned space program.

The manned spacecraft Shenzhou-9 will take its crew members to board the Tiangong-1 space module lab, which was launched in September last year and completed the country’s first space docking with the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft in November, reported Xinhua.

The selected astronauts are in training at the moment, Niu said on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.

“The perfect docking between Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1 has laid the perfect foundation for the manned docking this year,” Niu said, noting that the manned docking will feature brand new technology.

Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace-1, has been orbiting normally for more than 160 days, and is capable of docking with Shenzhou-9 and accommodating astronauts, he said.

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