Two Female Fighter Pilots Are Under Consideration For The Mission
The first Chinese woman in space will be one of two fighter pilots on a short list for selection for a mission to the Tiangong-1 space lab. Which ever of the women is selected, she will launch aboard a Shenzhou-9 spacecraft as part of a three-person team.
The Chinese state news agency Xinhua reports that the two women are Major Liu Yang from Henan, and captain Wang Yaping from Chandong. Yang was hailed as a "hero pilot" when she made a successful emergency landing after a bird strike covered her windshield in blood. Yaping reportedly flew numerous rescue missions following the Sichuan earthquake, as well as piloting cloud-seeding missions to keep the weather rain-free during the Beiging Olympics in 2008.
The mission is planned for later this month. It will be the first manned docking mission with the orbiting Chinese space lab module. The Chinese space agency says it will prove the viability of the Schenzhou-9 spacecraft as a way to transport humans to low Earth orbit.