China is to send its second woman astronaut into orbit on its longest mission yet, space officials said Monday, as the country works towards building a space station.
The Shenzhou-10—the name means “Divine Vessel”—will be launched on a Long March rocket at 0938 GMT Tuesday, Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China’s manned space programme, told a news conference.
The crew will be in orbit for 15 days, she said, and will include Wang Yaping, the second woman China has sent into space.
Beijing sees the multi-billion-dollar space programme as a symbol of its rising global stature, growing technical expertise, and the ruling Communist Party’s success in turning around the fortunes of the once poverty-stricken nation.
Wang, wearing a blue jumpsuit with a red Chinese flag affixed to her chest, stood up and saluted journalists at a separate news conference, as she and her two male fellow astronauts sat on a stage enclosed in glass for quarantine purposes.
She will give lessons to schoolchildren from orbit, she said, smiling.
Wang, 33, is a major in the People’s Liberation Army and also a member of the Communist Party, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
Flight commander Nie Haisheng, 48, a major-general in the army, who went into space on board Shenzhou-6, told reporters: “We will carry out a glorious mission.
“I would like to thank all my comrades in the army and assure them that we are determined to accomplish our task,” he added.
The third crew member is Zhang Xiaoguang, 47, a colonel.
The craft will dock with the Tiangong-1—”Heavenly Palace”—space laboratory, and the crew will transfer into it and carry out medical and space technology experiments.
Read more at: Phys.org