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BLAST OFF China’s Launches Female Astronaut Ng Han Guan / AP Photo

China Launches Female Astronaut

It is China’s boldest mission in space yet, and the first ever for a Chinese woman. Liu Yang, a 33-year-old female Chinese astronaut, was one of three astronauts who blasted off on Saturday. Their mission will take them to an orbiting module–an important milestone as China works toward building a space station. China launched its first astronaut into space in 2003, and since then has worked toward building a fully independent space program. The country, which was excluded from the International Space Station, plans to build its own permanent station by 2020. Wu Ping, a spokesman for China’s space program, called the launch of a woman into space “a landmark event.”

June 16, 2012 8:08 AM