She’s not an astronaut or cosmonaut – Liu Yang is a taikonaut, and tomorrow she’s scheduled to become China’s first woman to venture into space. She’s one of a three member team scheduled to lift off aboard the Shenzhou-9, accompanied by Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang.
Chinese media featured glowing reports about Liu’s prowess, noting she’s a Chinese air force major and a military pilot with a cool head. According to China Daily, in 2003, birds struck the engine of a plane Liu was piloting. She lost the right engine but stabilized the aircraft and made a safe emergency landing. Watch out, Sully. (NPR)