China short-lists 2 flawless women to be first astronauts

China short-lists 2 flawless women to be first astronauts

China has shorted-listed two flawless women who could be the country's first female astronauts for its next manned space mission to be launched between June and August.

The tough selection process required the two women to be married, given birth naturally and have neither decayed teeth nor even a scar.

If chosen for the 'Shenzhou-9' mission, they will be the first Chinese women astronauts.

Out of the seven candidates, three Chinese astronauts also known as "Taikonauts" will be finalised for the space mission, Li Wei, deputy designer for spacecraft systems with the China Aerospace and Technology Corporation said.

'Shenzhou-9' will manually dock with China's experimental space station 'Tiangong -1', which is currently orbiting the Earth. The seven candidates for the 'Shenzhou-9' were picked from fighter pilots. Another 45 astronauts, 15 female and 30 male, were selected as back-ups, Li said.

The two women astronauts, whose identity will be released before the launch were selected from 15 women who were married and had given birth naturally, Space International magazine under the China Academy of Space Technology said.

They also must have no scars or body odour, it said. Pang Zhihao, deputy editor-in-chief of the magazine, said "They even must not have decayed teeth as it might cause great trouble or a disaster in space."

Pang said a scar might open and start bleeding in space and the cramped conditions would intensify body odour. The female astronauts tend to be more "keen and sensitive with better communication skills than their male counterparts," Pang added.
Women were also good at dealing with relationships with their space partners, which would be an important quality on a long missions, he said. Xu Xianrong, a professor with the General Hospital of the PLA Air Force, said the woman astronauts must be married and have given birth naturally because that ensures their body and mental condition are mature enough.

The former Soviet Union sent the world's first woman astronaut, Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, into space in 1963.