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Wang Yaping: China's second female astronaut to enter space

06-10-2013 15:41 BJT Special Report: China Dream of Space Exploration |

By CCTV reporter Zhang Yilei

Among the three astronauts chosen to board the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, Wang Yaping is the only female. She will become the second female astronaut from China to enter space, after Liu Yang made history last year as part of the crew of the Shenzhou-9.

In the days leading up to the launch, Wang and her two crewmates will go through repeated physical and psychological tests. But this is just a fraction of the preparations she’s made to take her first space flight.

When Wang Yaping saw Liu Yang before the Shenzhou-9 launch last year, she had a few words for her. "I said to her you are the pride of women. Fly with our dreams, and I’ll have your back here on the ground," Wang said.

Now, it’s Wang’s turn to fly.

But it's been a long and winding road to the launch pad. After undergoing a strict selection process back in April 2009, Wang was selected as one of the few female candidates to become a Chinese astronaut. And her life since has been even more challenging.

"It takes a great deal to become an astronaut. You have to be outstanding overall, have great specialty knowledge, go through lots of rigorous training to adapt to the space environment, and take very strict tests that allow almost no errors or mistakes," Wang said.

Preparing for the Shenzhou-10 mission has occupied almost all of her spare time. In the past three years, Wang has only taken two to three breaks from her training. She was cleared for space just as she entered her second year of astronaut training. Her fellow astronauts say such quick progress is rare, but it has come from a lot of personal hard work.

"I think the training has helped me grow up. I've learned to accept my imperfections, and fully embrace teamwork with my crewmates. This is what has motivated me to pass one test after another," Wang said.

Before becoming an astronaut candidate, Wang used to be a pilot. She flew as part of the relief efforts following the Wenchuan Earthquake in 2008, as well as in other operations at the Beijing Olympic Games and in several exercises.

Full of passion, Wang has always been ready to take on new challenges as a pilot. "I remember the first time I flew a plane on my own. I turned around, and found my trainer was not with me. I was really thrilled and had a good shout in the cockpit. It's like, I could finally do this on my own," she said.

When the first Chinese astronaut made his debut in the nation's maiden manned space mission ten years ago, Wang was watching it on TV.

"I was so proud and also very excited. But as I watched it, it occurred to me: We have male pilots and female pilots. And then a male astronaut. When will there be a female astronaut? And today, it's me becoming one of the first few," Wang said.

Liu Yang told Wang that when she arrives in the space station, there would be a surprise for her. A surprise only for the space goers to discover.


Editor:James |Source:

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