China celebrates its space mission with its first female astronaut

China reached another milestone towards its space mission with the return of China’s Shenzou-9 spacecraft that included the country’s first woman astronaut Liu Yang. This mission aptly named as Shenzou-9 posted a series of first rankings in the Chinese space history. In addition to Liu-Yang’s presence as the first woman astronaut the other milestones covered are related with engineering marvels. For instance it is the first manned automatic and manual dockings, the first long duration space flight that is nearly for duration of two weeks in space, and the first crew to live abroad a permanently orbiting module – Tiangong-1.

This space mission is also the second space trip for the first astronaut veteran – Jing Haipeng. China did made rapid strides in developing its space program over the past decades such as sending its first astronaut into space, completing its first spacewalk and launching two lunar orbiters. Shenzhou-9 docked with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space laboratory last week. Tiangong-1 was a prototype for a full fledged space station that was launched into space this September. The crew of Shenzhou-9 executed a manual docking with Tiangong-1 on Sunday.

It can be said that China has repeated these space feats which were earlier achieved by Americans and the erstwhile Soviet Union way back in 1960’s and 1970’s but that mirrors the fact that China is capable of achieving the sophistication of modern space technology as a developed Asian nation. The mastering of the technique of joining spacecraft together manually can be considered as an important step in achieving the goal of building a space station in 2020 by China.

This space endeavor can be considered as a pride movement for China that coincided with the record setting of descent of the Chinese manned submersible vehicle that reached a depth of 7,020 meters into the Mariana Trench of the Pacific Ocean. The Shenzhou-9 space capsule landed at about 10:00 pm. ET in Inner Mongolia and the astronauts left the Tiangong-1 prototype space lab module a day earlier.  The landing of the space capsule was broadcast live on China’s state run CCTV television network that showed the capsule entering into the earth’s atmosphere like a meteor and then deploying its main parachute and then finally landing on to the ground rolling over on its side. This successful space mission made China the third country after the United States of America and Russia in accomplishing manned dockings in orbit.

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