China space station to welcome first woman astronaut

Top News | AFP and AP 15 Oct 2021

China will send three astronauts to an unfinished space station tomorrow, including the first female crew member to visit the station, where they are due to stay for six months.

It will be the second of four planned crewed missions to the station, which is due to be completed by the end of next year.

The Shenzhou-13 spacecraft will be launched early tomorrow from the edge of the Gobi Desert.

Wang Yaping, 41, will be the first female astronaut to visit the station.

Zhai Zhigang, 55, who hailed from China's first batch of astronaut trainees in the late 1990s, will be the mission commander. Zhai performed China's first spacewalk.

They will be accompanied by Ye Guangfu, 41.

Wang carried out experiments and led a science class in real-time while traveling on one of China's earlier experimental space stations.

It will be China's longest crewed mission and will set a record for the most time spent in space by Chinese astronauts. The crew's activities include up to three spacewalks to install equipment in preparation for expanding the station, verifying living conditions in the module and conducting experiments in space medicine and other areas.

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