In the News - China’s Shenzhou-9 spacecraft returns to Earth

China’s first female astronaut has returned to Earth after spending nearly two weeks in space.

In the news: Teaching resources - 29 June

China's Shenzhou-9 spacecraft returns to Earth

China's first female astronaut has returned to Earth after spending nearly two weeks in space.

Liu Yang, a 33-year-old major in China's air force, has been part of the national space programme for the last two years, and is also known by the nickname of "little Flying Knight". She was part of the crew of Shenzhou-9, which successfully completed a manual docking manoeuvre seen as crucial to the country's goal to build a space station by 2020.

China's space programme is a focus of the current government and the crew of Shenzhou-9 have become national celebrities during their time in orbit. The descent of the spacecraft, which landed in China's Inner Mongolia region, was tracked live on state TV.

Before her flight, Ms Liu, who toyed with becoming a lawyer or a bus conductor before settling on a career in the military, told state media that she was prepared for the challenges of space travel.

"As a pilot, I flew in the sky," she said. "Now that I am an astronaut, I will fly in space. This flight will be much higher and further away."

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