Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut  It might not be a giant step for mankind, but Saturday’s launch of a piloted space capsule known as Shenzhou-9 marks China’s breakthrough into the exclusive club once made up only of the United States and Russia. And as far as womankind is concerned, there is another first. One of the three astronauts in the capsule is a woman, 33-year-old Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space.

Liu Yang, China’s first female astronaut It might not be a giant step for mankind, but Saturday’s launch of a piloted space capsule known as Shenzhou-9 marks China’s breakthrough into the exclusive club once made up only of the United States and Russia. And as far as womankind is concerned, there is another first. One of the three astronauts in the capsule is a woman, 33-year-old Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space.

Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut  "Generally speaking, female astronauts have better durability, psychological stability and ability to deal with loneliness."

Liu Yang, China's first female astronaut "Generally speaking, female astronauts have better durability, psychological stability and ability to deal with loneliness."

The glass ceiling was no match for these women. Read the story of America's first female astronauts: the women of NASA's Astronaut Group 8.

The glass ceiling was no match for these women. Read the story of America's first female astronauts: the women of NASA's Astronaut Group 8.

Liu Yang: China's first female astronaut

Liu Yang: China's first female astronaut

Departing: China's first female astronaut Liu Yang waves during a departure ceremony at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center

Departing: China's first female astronaut Liu Yang waves during a departure ceremony at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center

First woman in space. In 1963, former textile worker Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel to space. The 26-year-old Russian was the fifth cosmonaut to go into the Earth's orbit.

First woman in space. In 1963, former textile worker Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to travel to space. The 26-year-old Russian was the fifth cosmonaut to go into the Earth's orbit.

After 13 days in orbit, China's first female astronaut returns to Earth  The three-member crew, which includes China's first female astronaut, emerged grinning from their Shenzhou 9 space capsule.

After 13 days in orbit, China's first female astronaut returns to Earth The three-member crew, which includes China's first female astronaut, emerged grinning from their Shenzhou 9 space capsule.

Dr. Sally Ride died on July 23, 2012.  NASA's first female astronaut

Dr. Sally Ride died on July 23, 2012. NASA's first female astronaut

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