. 24/7 Space News .
China rules out sending female astronaut into space anytime soon
  • Parisians brace for flooding risks as Seine creeps higher
  • Volcanos, earthquakes: Is the 'Ring of Fire' alight?
  • Finland's president Niinisto on course for second term
  • Record rain across soggy France keeps Seine rising
  • Record rain across sodden France keeps Seine rising
  • State of emergency as floods worry Paraguay capital
  • Panic and blame as Cape Town braces for water shut-off
  • Fresh tremors halt search ops after Japan volcano eruption
  • Cape Town now faces dry taps by April 12
  • Powerful quake hits off Alaska, but tsunami threat lifted
  • BEIJING (AFP) Aug 11, 2004
    A leading Chinese space official on Wednesday ruled out sending a female astronaut into space in the foreseeable future, but vowed that the country would one day fly someone to the moon.

    "In our country we advocate equality between men and women and we say that women hold up half the sky," National Space Administration chief Sun Laiyan told reporters.

    "Training an astronaut takes time and there are physical conditions and other aspects to consider. We are thinking about this but it won't happen in the near future."

    Chinese media reported earlier this year that China planned to send its first woman into orbit by 2010 and that officials at the space program would start recruiting female astronauts as early as next year.

    China launched its first manned space flight in October last year, when astronaut Yang Liwei orbited the Earth 14 times.

    The feat made China only the third country in the world after the United States and the former Soviet Union to send a man into space.

    Sun said Yang was chosen mainly because of his physical strength but that in future, astronauts would need to be more qualified as engineers and scientists able to conduct experiments.

    A second manned space mission is planned for next year.

    "We'll send one or two astronauts, this will be determined in due course, but there won't be a female astronaut," he said.

    He added that while China planned to launch its first unmanned lunar exploration craft before 2007, there were no current plans to explore Mars.

    "There will be a day when a Chinese astronaut will be walking on the Moon. What other countries can do, we can do it too," Sun said.

    Since China's space program was set up in 1992, it has grown to employ tens of thousands of scientific, manufacturing and planning personnel in more than 3,000 factories.

    All rights reserved. copyright 2018 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.