China picks first female astronaut candidates

Sep 17, 2009

(AP) -- China's military-backed space program has selected 45 astronaut candidates, including its first women hopefuls, for a training program less than a year after the country completed its first spacewalk.

The 30 male and 15 female candidates are part of a program to pick five men and two women astronauts to participate in three more manned missions planned before 2012. The missions are to prepare for the rendezvous and docking tasks required for constructing a space station, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.

In 2003, China become the first Asian country to put its own astronauts into space. It followed last year with its first , putting the country closer to building a space station and landing a man on the .

Like previous astronauts, all 45 candidates are air force pilots between the ages of 27 and 34, the report said. They will undergo a series of rigorous psychological and physical tests as part of the selection process.

China announced last year that it would send scientists on future manned missions as demands for technical expertise rises.

has said it wants to launch a manned mission by 2020 to experiment with technologies that will enable to take care of spacecraft for longer periods of time.

The Chinese program is backed by the country's secretive military. While Beijing says it is committed to a peaceful program, analysts point to numerous potential applications for its technology, such as when it used a land-based missile to blast apart an old satellite in 2007, the first such test ever conducted by a nation.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

China Considers Woman Candidates for Space Missions

Aug 12, 2004

After the first great success China plans to launch its second manned spacecraft next year. Xinhua News Agency reported that China is considering a plan to select woman candidates and train them for space ...

China seeks space station access

Jun 29, 2006

China has allowed reporters inside its space launch control room at Aerospace City near Beijing as part of an effort to join in the world's space projects.

China selects first spacewomen trainees

Jul 28, 2005

China has officially selected its first group of 35 women to be trained as astronauts. The women, all between 17 and 20 years old, will train as pilots at the Chinese military's Aviation University, Xinhua, China's main government-run ...

Recommended for you

SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

Dec 19, 2014

The sun emitted a mid-level flare on Dec. 18, 2014, at 4:58 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts ...

Why is Venus so horrible?

Dec 19, 2014

Venus sucks. Seriously, it's the worst. The global temperature is as hot as an oven, the atmospheric pressure is 90 times Earth, and it rains sulfuric acid. Every part of the surface of Venus would kill you ...

Image: Christmas wrapping the Sentinel-3A antenna

Dec 19, 2014

The moment a team of technicians, gowned like hospital surgeons, wraps the Sentinel-3A radar altimeter in multilayer insulation to protect it from the temperature extremes found in Earth orbit.

Video: Flying over Becquerel

Dec 19, 2014

This latest release from the camera on ESA's Mars Express is a simulated flight over the Becquerel crater, showing large-scale deposits of sedimentary material.

Spinning up a dust devil on Mars

Dec 19, 2014

Spinning up a dust devil in the thin air of Mars requires a stronger updraft than is needed to create a similar vortex on Earth, according to research at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.