Officials from the Chinese Space Agency announced today that they’ve completed crew selection for their next team of spacefarers – called taikonauts – and this time, the team includes some women.
The next major mission for China will be the first manned docking mission to the Tiangong-1 space station. This station was launched in September 2011, and was successfully docked with the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft back in November.
And so the next major step in the Chinese plans is for Shenzhou-9 to perform a manned docking with the station. Three taikonauts will be on board, and that crew might include some women – the first time the Chinese will have sent women to space.
This mission is already progressing nicely. The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and its Long March-2F rocket have been completed. And if everything goes as planned, they’ll launch and perform the manned docking some time between June and August 2012.
The final composition of the Shenzhou-9 crew hasn’t been announced yet, so it might still be a few more years before the Chinese women finally get their chance to fly to space.
Source: Universe Today