July 25, 2005

China set to suit up women for space travel

BEIJING (Reuters) - China will put a woman in space no
later than 2010, the China Daily reported on Tuesday.

The world's third country to put a man into space would
start choosing pilots, scientists and engineers for its first
wave of female astronauts next year, the newspaper said.

"It is true women aviators have some advantages in terms of
flight experience and physique, but we need payload experts
with strong science and engineering background to do
experiments in outer space," Hu Shixiang, deputy chief
commander of China's manned space program, was quoted as

At a reception for three U.S. astronauts visiting Beijing
last week, Hu said at least four Chinese women would be
selected for space in the first round of screening.

China has talked about putting women in space since it sent
its first man into orbit in October 2003.

As a first step, China's air force had recruited about 30
female pilots, the China Daily said.

China plans to launch two astronauts into orbit in October
as the next step in its lofty space ambitions that include
setting up a space station and even putting people on the moon.