On June 16, 2012 China will be sending its first woman in to space along with two other astronauts, who will be working on a temporary space station for about a week. This will be a key step towards becoming the third only nation to set up a permanent base in orbit.

Liu Yang, is a 34 year old air force pilot who will be joining two male colleagues which will be launched on Saturday on the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft. The spacecraft will be docking with the bus sized Tiangong 1 space module now orbiting at 343 kilometers which is 213 miles above the Earth.

Wu Ping, the space program spokeswoman said, “Arranging for women astronauts to fly is not only a must for the development of human spaceflight, but also the expectation of the public. This is a trademark event.” Two astronauts will be working inside the module to test its life support systems while the third will remain in the capsule so as to deal with any unexpected emergency situations.

Wu added that the mission will last more than ten days before the astronauts travel back to the Earth in the capsule. They will be landing at the Western Chinese grasslands with the help of parachutes.