China to send second woman astronaut into space this year
Beijing: China is expected to send its second woman astronaut into space this year on-board the Shenzhou-10, the country`s new manned spacecraft, which should be launched sometime between June and August.
Zhou Jianping, the head designer of China`s manned space programme, told Xinhua news agency that he expects a female astronaut to participate in the mission, together with two male astronauts.
The Shenzhou-10 is expected to dock with the orbiting lab module Tiangong-1, he said.
Last year China had sent its first woman astronaut on- board Shenzhou-9 which successfully docked with the Tiangong-1, the space module in orbit.
"The three astronauts will stay in orbit for 15 days, including 12 days when they will work inside the coupled complex of the Shenzhou-10 and Tiangong-1," said Zhou, who will attend the upcoming annual session of the National Committee of the Chinese People`s Political Consultative Conference.
To popularise scientific knowledge and inspire enthusiasm for science, the chief designer said the astronauts will give lectures to students via a video feed as they work in the Tiangong-1 lab module.
The Tiangong-1 was sent into space in September 2011. It later docked with the Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft in November 2011 and with the Shenzhou-9 manned spacecraft in June.
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