BEIJING, June 29 — China will continue to send female astronauts into space in future space missions, an official responsible for selecting and training astronauts said Friday.
China's first woman astronaut, Liu Yang, together with veteran astronaut Jing Haipeng and crewmate Liu Wang, safely returned to Earth Friday morning.
This followed the successful completion of China's first manual space docking between the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and the Tiangong-1 space lab module.
"A specific plan for selecting crew members for the Shenzhou-10 mission will be selected after research is completed," said Chen Shanguang, director of the Chinese Astronaut Research and Training Center, during an afternoon press conference.
"Sending a woman into space reflects the increasing status and greater role played by our female compatriots in society," Chen said.
Wang Zhaoyao, director of China's manned space program office, said at the press conference that the country's 39-billion-yuan (6.19 billion U.S. dollars) aerospace investment since 1992 has helped China grasp basic space technology and boosted the development of its aerospace industry.
"The development of space technology is closely related to everyone's lives," Wang said, citing examples from television broadcasting, global navigation and disaster control.
The manned space program has earned more than 900 national patents and technological awards, while over 400 technologies developed through the program have been applied in the education, mining and health care, Wang said.
Wang also reiterated China's stance on boosting cooperation with other nations and regions in the program in order to promote the development of global space technology.
"The purpose of China's manned space program is the peaceful use of the space and common development of humankind," said Wang.
"We are not aiming to catch up with or surpass other countries. We have developed the program based on our own needs," Wang said.
Wang was responding to a question on whether China has the ambition to become a global leader in space.
"China's space program is developing steadily as planned by the government," he said.
Future cooperation will focus on technological exchanges, collaborative science experiments, responding to the United Nations' call to share technology with other countries and allowing Chinese professionals to work with their international peers in training and research, said Wang.
Joint experiments overseen by Chinese and German scientists were part of last November's Shenzhou-8 space mission, marking the first time for China to allow foreign scientists to conduct experiments in one of its space vessels. (PNA/Xinhua) hbc/utb