China sends first female astronaut to space
June 16, 2012 -- Updated 1435 GMT (2235 HKT)
People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force fighter pilot Liu Yang, as seen in March 2010, will be China's first woman in space.
- Liu Yang becomes China's first woman in space
- China aims to be third nation to perform a space docking
- China aspires to build a space station and conduct a manned mission to the moon
(CNN) -- China made history Saturday when it launched a spacecraft sending the nation's first female astronaut in space.
The Shenzhou-9 launched Saturday afternoon, carrying Liu Yang and two male astronauts, Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang.
State media aired the launch held at a satellite center in Jiuquan.
Liu, 33, was the deputy head of a flight unit in the nation's air force, according to China's Xinhua news agency.
China to launch major space mission
Chinese women push for a place in space
She is a veteran pilot with 1,680 hours of flying experience, and excelled in space testing after two years of training.
If all goes well, the Shenzhou-9 will dock with China's orbiting space laboratory, making the nation the third after the United States and Russia to complete a manned space docking.
The Shenzhou-9 spacecraft and its carrier rocket as seen Saturday in northwest China's Gansu province.
Participation of women in space will aid training, improve flight crew equipment and expand knowledge on the physical and psychological effects of space on women, said Wu Ping, a spokeswoman for China's manned space program.
China rockets forward in race to moon
"It will also further expand the social impact of human space missions and showcase the positive image of Chinese women," Wu said before the launch. "As a woman, I am eagerly looking forward to this flight with a female astronaut."
China has big aspirations for its program and hopes to build a space station and conduct a manned mission to the moon.
The orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module was launched into space in September, and two months later it successfully completed China's first space docking with an unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou-8, according to Xinhua news agency.
Part of complete coverage on
August 19, 2014 -- Updated 0513 GMT (1313 HKT)
Chinese are turning to overseas personal shoppers to get their hands on luxury goods at lower prices.
August 15, 2014 -- Updated 0908 GMT (1708 HKT)
Experts say rapidly rising numbers of Christians are making it harder for authorities to control the religion's spread.
August 11, 2014 -- Updated 0452 GMT (1252 HKT)
"I'm proud of their moral standing," says Harvey Humphrey. His parents are accused of corporate crimes in China.
August 6, 2014 -- Updated 1942 GMT (0342 HKT)
A TV confession detailing a life of illegal gambling and paid-for sex has capped the dramatic fall of one of China's most high-profile social media celebrities.
July 31, 2014 -- Updated 0410 GMT (1210 HKT)
President Xi Jinping's campaign to punish corrupt Chinese officials has snared its biggest target -- where can the campaign go from here?
July 30, 2014 -- Updated 0712 GMT (1512 HKT)
All you need to know about the tainted meat produce that affects fast food restaurants across China, Hong Kong, and Japan.
July 18, 2014 -- Updated 0230 GMT (1030 HKT)
Some savvy individuals in China are claiming naming rights to valuable foreign brands. Here's how companies can combat them.
July 16, 2014 -- Updated 0911 GMT (1711 HKT)
Is the Chinese president a true reformist or merely a "dictator" in disguise? CNN's Beijing bureau chief Jaime FlorCruz dissects the leader's policies
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0344 GMT (1144 HKT)
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch.
July 4, 2014 -- Updated 0631 GMT (1431 HKT)
26-year-old Ji Cheng is the first rider from China to compete for competitive cycling's highest honor.
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 1124 GMT (1924 HKT)
China's richest man, Wang Jianlin, may not yet be a household name outside of China, but that could be about to change.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 2357 GMT (0757 HKT)
When President Xi Jinping arrives in Seoul this week, the Chinese leader will have passed over North Korea in favor of its arch rival.
July 1, 2014 -- Updated 0656 GMT (1456 HKT)
The push for democratic reform in Hong Kong is testing China's "one country, two systems" model.
June 30, 2014 -- Updated 1156 GMT (1956 HKT)
Along a winding Chinese mountain road dotted with inns and restaurants is Jinan Orphanage, a place of refuge and site for troubled parents to dump unwanted children.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0836 GMT (1636 HKT)
CNN's Kristie Lu Stout invites Isaac Mao, Han Dongfang, and James Miles to discuss the rise of civil society in China and social media's crucial role.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 0334 GMT (1134 HKT)
Chen Guangbiao wants rich people to give more to charity and he'll do anything to get their attention, including buying lunch for poor New Yorkers.
June 26, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
Architects are planning to build the future world's tallest towers in China. They're going to come in pretty colors.
Today's five most popular stories