CHINA / SOCIETY
Shenzhou-13 crew member Wang Yaping to conduct spacewalks, inspiring women on Earth
Published: Oct 14, 2021 11:37 PM Updated: Oct 15, 2021 03:10 PM
Shenzhou-13 crew member Wang Yaping Photo: Xinhua

Shenzhou-13 crew member Wang Yaping Photo: Xinhua


With the unveiling of the crew of three taikonauts of the Shenzhou-13 spacecraft that will fly to China's space station on early Saturday, Chinese netizens are excited for the epic mission, especially for Wang Yaping, who will be the country's first female taikonaut to stay in China's space station and conduct spacewalks, inspiring millions of women as they gaze upon the sky with an indescribable pride for the growing power of women in today's society. 

All set and ready for her six-month-long trip to space, Wang looked calm and confident as she stepped outside to greet the eager crowds who came to send their best wishes for their voyage. 

"Dreams are like stars in the universe. They look far and unreachable, but as long as we try, we are destined to reach them," Wang said during an interview with China Central Television.

"Ever since the first Chinese flew to space in 2003, I've been thinking to myself: now that men went to space, when can women do that too?" Deng remarked.

Before embarking on the adventure, she told her five-year-old daughter that she will bring back "the stars" to her. 

Wang Yaping was born in 1980 in Yantai, East China's Shandong Province. The 41-year-old taikonaut was selected to the crew of the Shenzhou-10 space mission in April 2013, delivering China's first televised science lecture in orbit to an audience of more than 60 million schoolchildren and teachers while onboard the Tiangong-1 space lab module. 

She was given the honorary title of "Hero Astronaut," according to the China Manned Space Agency website.

Huang Weifen, the training chief of Chinese taikonauts, revealed to the Global Times on Thursday that Wang will execute at least one of the scheduled spacewalks during her stay.

Wang will also deliver another space lecture, a major expectation for many netizens, as the last one in 2013 turned out to be such a big hit at the time. 

Female taikonauts have many unique advantages compared with men during long-term space stays. They have shown to be more stable and endure mental states that can support long-term stays in orbit and are more sensible and considerate to any problems in their surroundings. Their strong communication skills and energy will also help the crew maintain a high morale throughout the stay, Pang Zhihao, a Beijing-based space expert and retired researcher from the China Academy of Space Technology, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Pang added that women's bodies tend to adapt better to space environment than men's and are less likely to have an adverse reactions, making women more suitable for long-term trips to space. 

Netizens have expressed wonders as to how female crew members handle their period. To address the problem, ground supply teams have prepared a special "space toilet" for women with relevant daily supplies and food that already arrived at the space station with the Tianzhou-3 cargo craft.

Yang Liwei, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office and the country's first taikonaut, revealed that female taikonauts will participate in every upcoming flight mission. A number of candidates have been trained so far, including Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space in 2012. 

Retired NASA astronaut, Catherine Coleman, who spent six months living in the International Space Station in 2010 and 2011, told Wang in a video that "when you look out the window and you see the stars and the Earth, billions of women will be looking out that window with you, including me."

Wang's mission also triggered sales booming for the skin care product that she will bring to the space station.

A line of skin care products, with the name of Maysu, included toners, serums and creams, developed by Shanghai-based Jala Corporation, is under spotlight.

Within its flagship Tmall store, the company has highlighted the products "the companion products of China space station," and the set, priced at 1,069 yuan ($166), has been covered into coming double 11 shopping festival on November 11.

A customer service representative told the Global Times on Friday that the inquiry for the products has been rising sharply in recent days and most of them asked if it is the same at the space station. 

The firm confirmed it had been working with the space mission for seven years, some skin care products were provided for earlier three male taikonauts Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tao Hongbo for three months at the space station, according to thepaper.cn.

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