Thursday, 27 June 2013

China Joins Ranks of Moon Explorers

Update 15 Sep 2016: China launches Tiangong-2 "Heavenly Palace" to pave way for space station
Tiangong-2 lifts off on a Long March 2F-T2 rocket from the Jiuquan launch centre on at 22:04 Beijing time, September 15. (Photo: Xinhua)

China has successfully launched its Tiangong-2 space lab, marking a crucial step towards establishing a permanently crewed space station.

Tiangong-2 was launched by a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre at 22:04 Beijing time (14:04 UTC) on Thursday, taking just under ten minutes to enter orbit.

The 10.4 metre long, 3.35 wide spacelab will be visited in October by two astronauts aboard the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, to conduct a range of scientific research and set a national record for mission duration.

related:
A comprehensive guide to China’s space activities in 2016
China's space program

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China’s plans for the Moon, Mars and beyond

China is due to announce more details about a mission to Mars.

Until now, the country has been secretive about its military-led space programme.

But in an exclusive interview with the BBC, Wu Weiren, the head designer of its lunar missions, reveals China's future plans for exploration.

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China’s Chang’e-3 Unmanned Rover Lands on Moon, Xinhua Says

A Chinese man takes a photo of his son in an astronaut suit, locally known as taikonauts, at the Science Museum in Beijing, Dec. 1, 2013. Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

China landed an unmanned rover on the moon, making the Asian nation the third country after the U.S. and the Soviet Union to touch down a spacecraft on the lunar surface.

The probe, carrying a rover dubbed Jade Rabbit that will survey the moon’s geology and natural resources, landed at about 9 p.m. Beijing time yesterday, the Xinhua News Agency said. China’s achievement comes 47 years after the Soviet Union performed a soft landing of its Luna 9 spacecraft on the moon.

The launch is part of the Asian nation’s growing space exploration ambitions, an effort which has seen the country spend billions of dollars even as other nations cut back. For its next step, China wants to land a lunar rover and return it to Earth in 2017, according to Xinhua.


China's Jade Rabbit rover sends first moon photos
The first robot rover to land on the Moon in nearly 40 years, China's Jade Rabbit, has begun sending back photos, with shots of its lunar lander

Jade Rabbit rolled down a ramp lowered by the lander and on to the volcanic plain known as Sinus Iridum at 04:35 Beijing time on Saturday (20:35 GMT).

It moved to a spot a few metres away, its historic short journey recorded by the lander. On Sunday evening the two machines began photographing each other.

A Chinese flag is clearly visible on the Jade Rabbit as it stands deployed on the Moon's surface.

China Joins Ranks of Moon Explorers as Unmanned ‘Jade Rabbit’ Touches Down

China landed an unmanned rover on the moon, making the Asian nation the third country after the U.S. and the Soviet Union to touch down a spacecraft on the lunar surface.

The probe, carrying a rover dubbed Jade Rabbit that will survey the moon’s geology and natural resources, landed at about 9 p.m. Beijing time yesterday, the Xinhua News Agency said. China’s achievement comes 47 years after the Soviet Union performed a soft landing of its Luna 9 spacecraft on the moon.

The launch is part of the Asian nation’s growing space exploration ambitions, an effort which has seen the country spend billions of dollars even as other nations cut back. For its next step, China wants to land a lunar rover and return it to Earth in 2017, according to Xinhua 

Chang'e-3 soft-lands on moon

Photo taken on Dec. 14, 2013 shows the lunar probe Chang'e-3 on the screen of the Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China

China's lunar probe Chang'e-3, with the country's first moon rover onboard, landed on the moon on Saturday night, marking the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai)

China's lunar probe Chang'e-3, with the country's first moon rover onboard, landed on the moon on Saturday night, marking the first time that China has sent a spacecraft to soft land on the surface of an extraterrestrial body

China's first moon rover, Yutu, or Jade Rabbit, separated from the lander early on Sunday, several hours after the Chang'e-3 probe soft-landed on the lunar surface


China Launches Rocket Carrying Jade Rabbit Rover to Explore Moon

China launched a rocket carrying an unmanned lunar rover, moving the country one step closer to becoming the third to land a spacecraft on the moon.

The Long March 3B rocket took off from the Xichang satellite launch center in southwest China at 1:30 a.m. today, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on its website. It was carrying a rover dubbed Jade Rabbit that will survey the moon’s geology and natural resources.

The lander mission, which comes 47 years after the Soviet Union performed a soft landing of its Luna 9 spacecraft on the moon, is part of a broader Chinese investment in space. China conducted its first manned docking mission in June, 2012 and is considering a manned moon landing in the future.


China targets moon's far side for space probe landing
China's Chang'e-3 moon lander, above, carried the rover Yutu to the moon in 2013. Zou Yongliao from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' moon exploration department says China's next moon probe will land on the far side of the moon - somewhere no space probe has ever landed. ( Wang Jianmin Xinhua/The Associated Press)

China's increasingly ambitious space program plans to attempt the first-ever landing of a lunar probe on the moon's far side, a leading engineer said.

The Chang'e 4 mission is planned for sometime before 2020, Zou Yongliao from the Chinese Academy of Sciences' moon exploration department told state broadcaster CCTV in an interview broadcast on Wednesday.

Zou said the mission's objective would be to study geological conditions on the moon's far side, also known as the dark side.

related:
China takes another step towards unmanned return mission to the moon
China's flag-bearing rover photographed on moon
China's steady march to moon a lesson for West
China launches experimental spacecraft to fly around moon

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How China may be the next to land on the moon
Chinese astronauts Liu Wang (centre), Jing Haipeng (left) and Liu Yang in the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft during a manned space mission which includes China's first female astronaut

BEIJING - Neil Armstrong's 1969 lunar landing marked a pinnacle of US technological achievement, defining what many saw as the American century, but the next person to set foot on the moon will likely be Chinese.

As the United States has scaled back its manned space programme to cut costs - a move strongly criticised by Armstrong, who died on Saturday - Asian nations have aggressively expanded into space exploration.

China, Japan and India all have their own space programmes. New Delhi, which envisages its first manned mission in 2016, recently unveiled ambitious plans to launch a space probe that would orbit Mars.

Shenzhou X 神舟十号 spacecraft mission a success
Shenzhou X spacecraft mission a success
Astronauts (L to R) Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping wave to the welcoming crowd after they go out of Shenzhou X spacecraft's return capsule on Wednesday morning 26 Jun 2013.[Photo/Xinhua]

Three astronauts who completed China's longest manned space mission returned to Earth safely Wednesday morning, marking another step forward towards the country's goal of building a permanent manned space station by 2020.

Zhang Youxia, commander-in-chief of China's manned space program, said the Shenzhou X mission was a "complete success".

The reentry module of Shenzhou X landed safely on a sun-lit prairie in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at about 8:07 a.m. Wednesday. All three astronauts were in good physical condition. 

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Three person crew of China’s Shenzhou-10 神舟十号 return to Earth
Shenzhou-10 return
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The Chinese Shenzhou-10 spacecraft has returned its three member crew safely back to Earth following a 15 day mission in space, most of which involved docked operations with the Tiangong-1 space module. While the mission further refined rendezvous and docking techniques, crewmember Wang Yaping also provided a space lecture to thousands of Chinese school children.

The crew – comprised of Nie Haisheng (Commander), Zhang Xiaoguan (Operator) and Wang Yaping (Laboratory Assistant) – launched via the Long March 2/FG on June 10 from Pad 921 at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center’s LC43 Launch Complex.

Their Shenzhou-10 spacecraft then took two days to transition into rendezvous and docking operations with Tiangong-1 space module, which was to become their port of call for the majority of the mission. 

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Capsule returns from Chinese space lab

Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping
Screengrab of Astronauts Zhang Xiaoguang, Nie Haisheng and Wang Yaping saluting after returning to earth in the re-entry capsule of China's Shenzhou-10 spacecraft

A Chinese space capsule with three astronauts has safely landed on the country's northern grasslands after a 15-day trip to a prototype space station, marking the latest success for China's manned space programme as it enters its second decade.

The Shenzhou 10's descent module landed by parachute in the vast territory of Inner Mongolia early today with the three crew members smiling and waving on live television after wriggling through the blackened capsule's narrow hatch.

"Space is our dream, the fatherland is our home. Thanks to all compatriots who supported us and best wishes for the wealth and success of our fatherland and the ever greater happiness of our people," mission commander and two-time space traveller Nie Haisheng said to the cameras

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China's Shenzhou-10 神舟十号 mission successful

China's Shenzhou-10 rocket blasts off from the Jiuquan space centre in the Gobi Desert in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu province

THREE astronauts who completed China's longest manned space mission returned to Earth safely this morning, marking another step forward towards the country's goal of building a permanent manned space station by 2020. 

Zhang Youxia, commander-in-chief of China's manned space program, said the Shenzhou-10 mission was a "complete success".

The reentry module of Shenzhou-10 landed safely on a sun-lit prairie in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region at about 8:07am today. All three astronauts were in good physical condition

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Astronauts of Shenzhou-X 神舟十号 enter Tiangong-1 天宫一号

Photo taken on June 13,2013 shows the screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center capturing the three astronauts of Shenzhou X waving their hands to staff on the ground through a camera in Tiangong-1

The astronauts of the Shenzhou X spacecraft entered space module Tiangong-1 on Thursday afternoon, said the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).

The three astronauts - Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping - opened the hatch of Tiangong-1 at 4:17 pm on Thursday, after the spacecraft completed an automated docking procedure with the orbiting Tiangong-1 at 1:18 pm on Thursday

After a series of preparations, the three astronauts entered the orbital compartment of the Shenzhou X, taking off their intra-vehicular mobility unit space suits and changing into blue colored jumpsuits

Related:
Space dream crystallized with Shenzhou X launch

China’s Shenzhou-10 神舟十号 successfully docks with Tiangong-1 天宫一号
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Shenzhou-9's rendezvous


The three member crew of Shenzhou-10 docked with the Tiangong-1 space module at 05:11 UTC on Thursday, marking the start of 12 days of docked operations. The arrival of the Chinese spacecraft occurred without the fanfare of previous missions, with no live coverage and just one official line of success from China. 

Following Tuesday’s successful launch, Shenzhou-10 – and its three taikonauts – were inserted into a parking orbit. With the spacecraft using its own propulsion system, its orbital parameters were raised to a near circular orbit with an altitude of 330 km

The spacecraft took two days to transition into rendezvous operations with Tiangong-1, leading to one of the main pre-docking tasks – the fly around maneuver.

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Shenzhou X 神舟十号 docks with space module 天宫一号
Shenzhou X docks with space module
Photo taken on June 13, 2013 shows the screen at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center showing the Shenzhou X manned spacecraft conducting docking with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module. China's Shenzhou X manned spacecraft successfully completed an automated docking with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module at 1:18 pm Thursday.[Photo/Xinhua]

China's Shenzhou X manned spacecraft successfully completed an automated docking procedure with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module at 1:18 pm Thursday, according to the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

The docking procedure was the fifth to take place between Shenzhou-type spacecraft and the space module. Previous dockings include two automated operations by the unmanned Shenzhou VIII in 2011 and both an automated and manual docking by the manned Shenzhou IX in 2012.

The Shenzhou X, which was launched Tuesday afternoon from northwest China's Gobi desert, began to approach the Tiangong-1 automatically at 10:48 am Thursday and made contact with the space module at 1:11

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China launches three person crew on Shenzhou-10 神舟十号
Shenzhou-8
Tiangong-1
 

The Chinese have launched their fifth crewed space mission on Tuesday via the Shenzhou-10 mission. The launch of the Long March 2F/G rocket 长征系列运载火箭 was on schedule at 09:38 UTC, taking place from Pad 921 at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center’s LC43 Launch Complex

This new space chapter for the Chinese represents the final occupation of the Tiangong-1 space module and the launch of the second female “yu hang yuan” – the Chinese term for astronaut, as opposed to the more commonly used “taikonaut”.

The three member crew comprises of part of Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping.
The 15 day mission will be highlighted by the docking to the Tiangong-1 unmanned space module, which was launched on September 29, 2011. 

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China astronaut teaches lesson from space
File:Wang Yaping5.JPEG

A Chinese astronaut orbiting more than 300 kilometres (186 miles) above the Earth's surface delivered a video class to children across the country on Thursday, state television showed in a live broadcast.

Wearing a white space suit, Wang Yaping, the second Chinese woman in space, demonstrated how a variety of objects -- from a bubble of water to a spinning toy -- behave in zero gravity.

Wang's class -- delivered from China's orbiting space module Tiangong-1 -- was shown in classrooms across China, state broadcaster CCTV said.

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Space lesson to reach millions



More than 60 million students and teachers at China's 80,000 middle schools will experience a special class delivered by China's first teacher in space from more than 300 kilometers above Earth's surface.

Female astronaut Wang Yaping will carry out fundamental physics experiments onboard the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module at around 10 am on Thursday, the space program said in a release on Wednesday.

She will interact with more than 330 students who will gather at a classroom of the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China in Beijing, according to the space program.

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Space lecture was beamed live to over 80.000 schools
Onboard TianGong-1
Chinese Space Lecture

With two of the taikonauts sleeping in the module, while the third slept onboard the Shenzhou-10, one of the docked mission highlights was provided by Wang Yaping on June 30.

Her space lecture was beamed live to over 80.000 schools that participated in this event. Chinese State media showed parts of the lecture, which allowed some students to take the opportunity to ask questions to the taikonauts on board Tiangong-1.

Speaking to students via live video, Ms Wang used spinning tops, a ball, water and a fellow astronaut to explain physics in micro-gravity.

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Chinese astronaut Yaping delivers space lecture
A science class from above Earth

China's second woman astronaut Wang Yaping, who is currently orbiting the Earth in an experimental spacelab, has become the country's first space teacher as she delivered a lecture to over 60 million Chinese students about various aspects life in space

In a 45 minutes lecture, Wang, an air force pilot assisted by her two male colleagues demonstrated weightlessness and how it affects the Newton laws of gravity

In a live telecast lecture to about 330 primary and middle school and watched by more than 60 million students and teachers at about 80,000 middle schools besides hundreds of millions of awestruck Chinese.

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China astronauts float water blob in kid's lecture

In this image taken June 20, 2013 and made from CCTV, Chinese female astronaut Wang Yaping shows motion behavior of two spinning objects in micro-gravity during the broadcast live from onboard the Tiangong 1 prototype space station. China’s astronauts spun gyroscopes and implanted tiny knots into sheets of suspended water during their first classroom lecture from the country’s orbiting space station, part of efforts to popularize the successful manned space flight program among young people 

Astronauts struck floating martial arts poses, twirled gyroscopes and manipulated wobbling globes of water during a lecture Thursday from China's orbiting space station that's part of efforts to popularize the space program among young people. 

Wang Yaping demonstrated principles of weightlessness and took questions live from among the 330 grade school kids gathered at a Beijing auditorium during the 51-minute class from aboard the Tiangong 1 space station. Her fellow crew members Nie Haisheng and Zhang Xiaoguang answered questions about living, working and staying fit in space

"I want to know how you know which way is up," said one student

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China astronauts float water blob in kids' lecture


The lectures come as China's human space program enters its second decade, after going from a simple manned flight to space lab link-ups in a series of methodically timed steps in just 10 years. China launched its first crewed mission in 2003, becoming the third nation after Russia and the U.S. to achieve that feat.

The current Shenzhou 10 mission is the second crewed trip to the Tiangong 1, launched in 2011 and due to be replaced by the larger, three-module permanent station, Tiangong 2, seven years from now

The future station will weigh about 60 tons, slightly smaller than NASA's Skylab of the 1970s and about one-sixth the size of the 16-nation International Space Station. China was barred from participating in the International Space Station, largely on objections from the United States over political differences and the Chinese program's close links with the military

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China astronauts float water blob in kids' lecture

China's second female astronaut, Wang smiled her way through the carefully rehearsed class, which more closely resembled a children's TV science program than Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield's recent free-wheeling YouTube videos from the International Space Station.

The lectures come as China's human space program enters its second decade, after going from a simple manned flight to space lab link-ups in a series of methodically timed steps in just 10 years.

China launched its first crewed mission in 2003, becoming the third nation after Russia and the U.S. to achieve that feat

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Space lesson to reach millions


On Wednesday, the three astronauts of the Shenzhou X mission — commander Nie Haisheng, astronaut Zhang Xiaoguang and astronaut Wang Yaping, said they are in good condition after spending seven days in space.

The spacecraft lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province on June 11

It conducted a robotic docking with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space module two days later. It is scheduled to conduct a manual docking with Tiangong-1 during the second half of the 15-day mission.

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Chinese Astronaut Delivers 1st Space Lecture 
Historic space lecture in Tiangong-1

A special lecture began Thursday morning, given by a teacher aboard China's space module Tiangong-1 to students on Earth. Female astronaut Wang Yaping, one of the three crew members of Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, greeted about 330 primary and middle school students at a Beijing high school, through a live video feed system.

"Hello, everyone. I am Wang Yaping. I will host the lecture today," she said, smiling towards the camera, on board of the space module Tiangong-1. Wang and her crew members set off to the space aboard the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft on June 11 and the spacecraft docked with the Tiangong-1 on June 13.

The students on her class included children from migrant workers' families, of ethnic minorities and from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. They are gathering at the High School Affiliated to Renmin University in Beijing.

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Astronaut gives lecture in space 
Students in China tune in for live space lecture

Female astronaut Wang Yaping, one of the three crew members of Shenzhou-10 spacecraft, greeted about 330 primary and middle school students at a Beijing high school, through a live video feed system, Xinhua news agency reports.

The lesson is aimed at making space more popular, as well as inspiring enthusiasm for the universe and science, according to Zhou Jianping, designer-in-chief of China's manned space program, who added that the lesson will also accumulate experience for similar larger activities.

"The spirit of science of the youth is an important drive for the progress of mankind," said Zhou. "Space activities can help them build up the spirit of seeking science and facing challenges."

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Chinese woman astronaut delivers space lecture 
'Exploration part of Chinese dream'

Virtually floating, Wang showed a small ball tied with a string to a holder fixed on a metal plate to show how it did not move like a pendulum on the earth and instead moved in a circular motion. She later made a water film stuck in metal ring to explain the features of surface tension. Water magnifies in space due to zero gravity, she said.

Wang and her crew members set off to the space aboard the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft on June 11 and the spacecraft docked with the Tiangong-1 on June 13.

The students on her class included children from migrant workers' families, of ethnic minorities and from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. They are gathering at the High School Affiliated to Renmin University in Beijing.

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Wang Yaping (王亚平)
.

Wang and her crew members set off to the space aboard the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft on 11 June and the spacecraft docked with the Tiangong-1 on 13 June. Wang showed students how normal scales, working under the influence of gravity, did not work inside the orbiter

Then, she introduced the special scale on board of the orbiter, which was designed on basis of the Newton's second law of motion, or measuring the mass of an object through the net force and the acceleration

The 33-year-old Wang is the second Chinese woman astronaut after Liu Yang. The world's first teacher in space was Christa McAuliffe, a 37-year-old middle school teacher from the USA, but the Space Shuttle Challenger she was aboard disintegrated after 73 seconds in flight on 28 January 1986. McAuliffe and her other six crewmates were killed

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Wang Yaping


Wang Yaping (王亚平), a former air force pilot, joins a crew of three on Shenzhou 10 on June 11, 2013 and becomes only the second woman astronaut in space after Liu Yang who was on board the Shenzhou 9 mission in 2012.

Wang delivered a special lecture onboard the Tiangong 1 space module around 10 a.m. June 20, 2013, making her China's first teacher in space -- more than 300 km above the Earth's surface. More than 60 million students and teachers across China's 80,000 middle schools turned into the special class. Wang interacted with more than 330 students who gathered in a classroom of the High School Affiliated to Renmin University of China in Beijing, according to the space program.

Wang was born in January 1980, in east China's Shandong Province. She is the eldest of two daughters. In 1997, she enrolled at the Changchun Air Force Aviation College. Wang Yaping first took to the air in 1998 and subsequently racked up more than 800 flying hours during the next nine years

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File:Shenzhou 10.JPEG
Shenzhou 10 神舟十号

Tiangong-1, the unmanned space module

Shenzhou 9

Liu Yang (刘洋) first female taikonaut


Liu Yang (刘洋) is a Chinese pilot who was selected on June 15, 2012, as the only female astronaut among the three-person crew on the Shenzhou 9spacecraft.

Born in Henan Province in central China in 1978, Liu is an only child. In 1997, she enrolled at the Changchun Air Force Aviation College and became one of the first female air force pilots from Henan Province since the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In 2001, she was assigned to an air force aviation division in the Guangzhou Military Region, which is known as the "Cradle of female Pilots."

Liu holds the rank of Air Force Major. She has more than eleven years of aviation experience and is trained to pilot four types of aircraft. The Shenzhou 9, atop an upgraded Long March-2F carrier rocket, was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern China at 6:37 p.m. June 16, 2012 and returned to Earth around 10 am. on June 29.

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Fifty years ago, Tereshkova became first woman in space

Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova posing before boarding the Vostok 6, at Baikonur cosmodrome, on June 16, 1963. Photo courtesy: AFP PHOTO / TASS

MOSCOW, June 14, 2013 (AFP) - On June 16, 1963, Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to fly into space in a scientific feat that was a major propaganda coup for the Soviet Union.

Two years after Yuri Gagarin's historic first manned flight, Tereshkova blasted off in a Vostok-6 spaceship, becoming a national heroine at the age of 26.

She remains the only woman ever to have made a solo space flight.

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China's World’s Largest Telescope

About 10,000 people in China will be relocated to make way for the world’s largest radio telescope, which is built to detect alien existence.

Built in the south-western Guizhou province, the 1.2 billion yuan (£128 million) project is part of the country’s ambitious hunt for aliens.

To do that effectively, state-run Xinhua news agency reported that officials will “evacuate” all homes within three miles (5km) of the radio telescope.

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