Liu Yang and two male astronauts take off from Gobi desert on mission to help build space station within decadeChina's first female astronaut has launched into space as part of a mission to build a space station within the decade.A Long March rocket blasted off at 6.37pm from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in the Gobi desert on Saturday, carrying the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft and three astronauts, including female fighter pilot Liu Yang.Liu, 33, Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang are to dock with a prototype space lab launched last year in a key step toward building a permanent space station. They are to work there for about a week.China first launched a man into space in a 2003 solo mission. This was followed by a two-man mission in 2005 and a three-man trip in 2008.ChinaAsia PacificSpaceGenderguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved....
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