Feeds

China to take women to heaven and back

Manned 2012 spaceships could have two female taikonauts

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

China is considering sending two female astronauts into space on its first manned missions to its space lab module next year.

An unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou-8, is launching this evening and will be testing space docking with Tiangong-1. If the mission is successful, China is planning Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 next year, at least one of which will be manned, spokeswoman Wu Ping told the Xinhua news agency.

Chen Shanguang, director of the Astronaut Centre of China (ACC) said two women had been selected for the possible flights.

"We must assess both male and female astronauts to verify if human beings can live in space, as there are huge differences between men and women in spite of their common generalities," Chen told Xinhua in a separate interview.

"Space exploration activities would be incomplete without the participation of female astronauts," he added.

Nine crew members in total are preparing for the manned missions and are already being trained with manual docking skills.

The seven male crew members are from the country's first batch of 14 astronauts, which includes Yang Liwei, China's first astronaut into space in 2003, Chen said.

The two women were both airfreighter pilots before enrolling in the space programme and are from the second batch of astronauts recruited in late 2009 and early 2010.

The unmanned Shenzhou-8 will dock with the Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace" two days after its launch, stay attached for 12 days, then carry out a second docking later, Wu said.

If it all goes to plan, it will make China the third country to master docking technology after the US and Russia and pave the way for China's plans to put a permanent space station in orbit in 2020. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.