China may send its first woman into space this year after including two female astronauts in the team training for its firstmanned space docking.
The shortlisted woman would be placed in the three-person team that will blast off in the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, according to Xinhua.
Chinese media described Major Liu Yang, from Henan, as a ‘hero pilot’ who achieved a successful emergency landing after a dramatic birdstrike incident spattered the windshield of her plane with blood.
Meanwhile, her rival, Captain Wang Yaping, from Shandong, is said to have flown rescue missions during the Sichuan earthquake, The Guardian reports.
Yaping also piloted a cloud-seeding plane to help clear the skies of rain for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
“They are selected as members of the first batch of female astronauts in China because of their excellent flight skills and psychological quality,” the state-run media report said.
China will be the eighth country to see one of its female citizens go into space, and only the third to put one there itself.
Valentina Tereshkova of the Soviet Union became the first woman to go into space in 1963. ANI