On Saturday at 12:37 hours (MET) China successfully launched its space shuttle "Shenzhou 9". Three astronauts, among them for the first time a woman, will manually dock with the space module "Heavenly Palace-1". This maneuver is scheduled for Monday and represents another step towards China's ambition to establish a permanent space station.
"I am grateful to the motherland and the people. I feel honored to fly into space on behalf of hundreds of millions of Chinese females," the female astronaut Liu Yang commented before the mission began according to the state news agency Xinhua.
ScienceGuide interviewed Yang Hong, the chief designer of the "Heavenly Palace"."My ultimate dream is to let manned space flight benefit all humanity. Not just our Chinese people, but all citizens in the world. I think that flying to Mars is just one step. In fact, we should think much beyond that," he said.