BEIJING: China will launch three astronauts this month to dock with an orbiting experimental module, and the crew might include its first female space traveller, a government news agency said today.
A rocket carrying the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft was moved to a launch pad in China’s desert northwest today for the mid-June flight, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing a space programme spokesman.
The three-member crew will dock with and live in the Tiangong 1 orbital module launched last year, Xinhua said.
The government has not said how long the mission will last. Xinhua cited
Niu Hongguang, deputy commander in chief of the manned space programme, as saying the crew “might include |female astronauts.”
The Chinse government said back in 2010 that two female air force pilots had joined the astronaut programme but has disclosed no other details about the crew members.