12 Things To Know About Liu Yang, China’s First Female Astronaut

1. She is a “taikonaut,” which is what China’s English-speaking media calls Chinese astronauts.

She is a "taikonaut," which is what China's English-speaking media calls Chinese astronauts.

She’s joining the crew of the Shenzhou-9, blasting off this Saturday.

(AP / Uncredited)

2. She’s from Henan, a high-density, low-income province of China.

She's from Henan, a high-density, low-income province of China.

Sunny Henan.

3. She used to be a fighter pilot.

She used to be a fighter pilot.

At 18, shortly after graduating high school, Yang applied to join the People’s Liberation Army. Since then, she’s logged 1,680 hours of flight for the PLA and has earned the ranks of major and deputy head of a flight unit.

4. She’s well-regarded in China for her courage.

She's well-regarded in China for her courage.

She’s famous for safely landing her fighter jet after a collision with a flock of 18 pigeons left her window covered in blood. China Daily called her a “hero pilot.”

5. She also won first place in a military speech contest in 2010.

She also won first place in a military speech contest in 2010.

She’s often described by Chinese media as an eloquent speaker. She’s also fluent in English.

6. She was selected out of 21 female pilots with similar service records.

She was selected out of 21 female pilots with similar service records.

Government officials began the selection process in 2009. In March 2010, they narrowed down the search to two women. Two years later, they announced their choice. (Her competitor, Wang Yaping, is pictured on the left.)

7. To become a taikonaut, Yang had to be a married mother.

This is due to concerns that space travel impacts a woman’s fertility.

8. She could also have no scars, bad breath or tooth decay.

She could also have no scars, bad breath or tooth decay.

According to the newspaper of the Shaanxi Province Communist Party committee.

9. On board, she will be in charge of medical experiments.

On board, she will be in charge of medical experiments.

Here, with her two male co-taikonauts.

10. She will also help test space equipment designed for women.

She will also help test space equipment designed for women.

It’s all part of China’s ongoing mission to build an orbiting station.

11. So far, she’s exceeded the expectations of her male counterparts.

So far, she's exceeded the expectations of her male counterparts.

“Despite starting her training late, she is now on the same page as us,” Cmdr. Jing Haipeng (middle) told the Global Times.

Source: l3.yimg.com

12. Yet despite her making history, the media can’t seem to get her age right.

Yet despite her making history, the media can't seem to get her age right.

Is she 33? 34? No, she’s 33. Or is it 34?

About neaat

The NETWORK OF ENTERTAINING ASIAN AMERICAN TALENT ORG is an independent site for information on Asian American Arts, Talent, Culture, and Entertainment. NEAATO started as a myspace page under http://www.myspace.com/asianamericannetwork and also a blog in 2007 (http://www.neaat.wordpress.com/) by Donnytello Tran. The idea was made when we noticed our friends on Myspace were posting more information about their work online through bulletins instead of waiting to get published in magazines or an Asian American Blog. We decided to put all these ‘posts’ together and share it with anyone that was interested and NEAATO was born. The current NEAATO blog site is http://www.neaato.com/. NEAATO was inspired by Bruce Lee’s quote: “"To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
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