China has launched its first manned docking mission, an operation that includes sending its first woman into space. The mission, part of the country's plan to construct a space station by 2020, launched on Saturday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert in western China.
The operation is part of the country's increasing emphasis on space exploration, which includes plans on landing a taikonaut on the moon by as early as 2016. China first sent a man into space in 2003, and successfully led its first spacewalk in 2008. Liu Yang, the 33-year-old air force pilot who became the country's first woman in space, will be in charge of medical experiments on the mission.
Via The New York Times.