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Woman Astronaut On China Space Mission?

BEIJING (UPI) — China says its Shenzhou-9 spacecraft, set to dock this summer with its Tiangong-1 space module lab, may include a female astronaut in its crew.

The final three-member crew will be decided “on the very last condition,” Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of the country’s manned space program, told China’s state-run news agency Xinhua.

The Tiangong-1 space lab, launched in September, has already completed a successful space docking operation, China’s first, with the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft in November.

“The perfect docking between Shenzhou-8 and Tiangong-1 has laid the perfect foundation for the manned docking this year,” Niu said.

The astronauts in the initial selection for the manned mission, a roster that includes female astronauts, are in training at the moment, he said.

Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace-1, is capable of docking with Shenzhou-9 and accommodating astronauts aboard, he said.

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