Tue, Oct 18, 2005
A Spacewalk And... Women!
With a second orbital success under its belt, now what? China
says it's getting ready for a 2007 spacewalk and the entry of women
into its field of "taikonaut" candidates.
"Our estimate is that around 2007 we will be able to achieve
extravehicular activity by our astronauts and they will walk in
space," said Tang Xianming, director of China's Space
Engineering Office. He was quoted by the Associated Press.
"At present, we do not have women participants among our
astronaut candidates," he said. "But according to our development
program and plans for manned space engineering, for the next round
of selections, we might consider having some female
The Shenzhou VI capsule landed on the grasslands of northern
China -- in the dark -- over the weekend, met by off-road vehicles
and helicopters. Astronauts Nie Haisheng and Fei Junlong were
helped from their Soyuz-like spacecraft and sat in metal chairs as
recovery teams swarmed around them.
"I want to thank the people for their love and care. Thank you
very much," Fei said as the astronauts accepted bouquets of flowers
from recovery team members.
If the point of the exercise was to boost China's prestige among
technological nations and further national pride at home -- it
"Today, every son of the Yellow Emperor feels very proud,"
Shanghai furniture salesman Zhang Jinhua told the AP, referring to
the legendary founder of China.
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