The main mission for Lt Liu and her two male colleagues was to steer the Shenzhou(divine vessel) close to the Tiangong (heavenly palace),this module was shot into space in September and is now orbiting the planet, they then linked them together manually – This was an important exercise that China needed to master in preparation for its own space station.
Every detail of the launch was covered extensively by Chinese state media. Xinhua, the official news agency, dutifully reported on Friday that the Shenzhou 9 had its final pre-launch exercise on Thursday. State newspapers also published hagiographies of Lt Liu this week. They praised her as a hero pilot who once managed an emergency landing of a military transport aircraft that had collided with a flock of pigeons (so they are in safe hands if they run into those pesky space pigeons) and characterized her with a combination of some of the features held in highest esteem in Chinese culture – modesty, intelligence, kindness and perseverance.
China joins the three other nations that have had women in space; Valentina Tereshkova from the Soviet Union was the first woman to travel into space in 1963. The US had its first woman astronaut, Sally Ride, in 1983.
This is just one more triumph for the Chinese space program; it’s amazing, it ticks off one goal after another, all part of its 30-year program for space exploration. It’s called Project 921. So what’s next, a Chinese space station, a moon landing maybe Mars?
So we see a fresh space race developing this can only be good thing. I believe that pushing forward with programs like this gives people competition, it provides an outlet for national pride and technological race for improvement, and this in turn provides advancements in many areas and leads to new discoveries and new ideas pushing countries forward.
This development is needed now more than ever, economies are dying a space race could boost investment and with the private sector getting in on the act new jobs and opportunities could be ahead.
I for one cannot wait for the first Chinese restaurant on the moon(I’ve always liked Chinese moon cakes) or maybe a new Burger king “float through” restaurant.