China Will Send Women Into Space


China’s growing space program took another new step this week when it was announced that female astronauts will be recruited for future space flights. China began to recruit woman pilots to its military forces in 1951, and hundreds of female pilots have joined the country’s civil aviation ranks and air force since then. China sent its first human into space last October, when its Shenzhou-5 spacecraft, piloted by Yang Liwei, a former fighter pilot of the People’s Liberation Army air force, orbited Earth 14 times and returned safely. Yue Cuixi, 55, China’s first woman air force pilot, was promoted to major general in 2003. The details of the plan to recruit and train the country’s female astronauts have not yet been worked out. The United States and Russia are the only other countries that have sent manned spacecraft into orbit.