China to send first manned mission into space this month
June 13, 2012
China is getting more heavily involved in space travel by sending its first manned ship to dock with its orbiting space station. Russia is currently the leading nation when it comes to space exploration, as NASA recently stopped sending manned shuttles outside Earth's atmosphere. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin recently announced the nation's efforts to become more competitive in the interstellar industry by sending the Shenzhou-9 manned shuttle to dock with the Tiangong-1 space lab this month, according to Xinhuanet.
"China's space activities are for peaceful purposes," Weimin said during his announcement, the news source reports.
The intention of the mission will be not only to successfully dock with the space station, but to carve a place for China in the aerospace technology industry. Weimin indicated the nation wants to play an active role in ensuring space exploration is used peacefully to benefit the world, not for political strategy.
Not only is the Chinese space program sending people into space for the first time, but among the three-person crew will be the first female astronaut, or taikonaut. Liu Yang and Wang Yaping, two female members of the Chinese Air Force's Wuhan Flight Unit, are competing to be chosen for the mission, which could launch as early as June 16, according to MSNBC. They are being considered because both pilots have shown the flight skills and psychological qualities necessary for space travel, Xinhuanet indicates.
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