1. BLAST OFF

    China Launches Female Astronaut

    Ng Han Guan / AP Photo

    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.”

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