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China to add women to astronaut corps
Posted: Mon, Mar 8, 2004, 7:52 PM ET (0052 GMT)
China plans to add women to its small corps of "taikonauts", or astronauts, but offered no specifics regarding when a Chinese woman might fly in space. The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that Gu Xiulian, head of the All-China Women's Federation, said Saturday that her proposal that women be trained as astronauts was accepted by the government. However, officials said no details for the female astronaut selection process had been worked out, and the report offered no timetable of when an astronaut selection process would take place. Designers of China's Shenzhou spacecraft will have to make "minor changes to the facilities inside the ship" to accommodate women, according to Xinhua. To date China has launched a single man, Yang Liwei, on a one-day trip in Earth orbit. China has started training a group of all-male astronauts for the next manned mission, Shenzhou 6, scheduled for launch next year.
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