Monday, October 31, 2011

Chinese women in space...married, of course

What a strange statement...

"We believe married women would be more physically and psychologically mature," Zhang said.

"China to Send First (Married) Female Astronauts to Space in 2012"


Sara Yin

October 31st, 2011


China may be launching its first women into space next year, according to government mouthpiece, Xinhua.

The two unnamed women are around 30 years old, fighter pilots from the People's Liberation Army, and perhaps most importantly, they are married—but not to each other. In an interview last year with Zhang Jianqi, former deputy commander of the country's manned space program, the only difference in requirements set for Chinese male and female candidates was that the women be married.

"We believe married women would be more physically and psychologically mature," Zhang said.

The female astronauts, or "taikonauts" as local English journalists call them because "tai ko" means "space" in Chinese, might join seven men for a space docking mission at Tiangong-1 ("Heavenly Palace," a space lab module being used to test docking abilities to support a larger space station complex.

"We must assess both male and female astronauts to verify if human beings can live in space as there are huge differences between men and women in spite of their common generalities," Chen Shanguang, director of the Astronaut Center of China, told Xinhua.

In a recent interview with the Huffington Post, NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell said that the "personal hygiene aspects of being a woman" were especially challenging. "Suits weren't designed with us in mind," she said. "When you have to go to the bathroom, the whole flight suit has to come off. That's not cool. Also, the toilet on board the ISS was designed by the Russians and as they have very few women in their corps, it was created with men in mind. We're called upon to have a lot of fortitude in these cases. You have to make it work somehow."

NASA launched its first woman in space, Sally Ride, in 1983, on the Challenger. However Russia launched the world's first woman in space in 1963, Valentina Tereshkova, who piloted the Vostok 6.

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