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Shenzhou-10 mission to teach students in orbit

Updated: 2013-06-10 16:33

JIUQUAN - Astronauts on board the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft will teach students through a live video feed system while in orbit, Wu Ping, spokeswoman for China's manned space program, said Monday.

It is the first time Chinese astronauts will give a lesson to middle and elementary school students while in orbit, Wu told a press conference ahead of the launch, which is scheduled for 5:38 p.m. Beijing Time Tuesday.

Wang Yaping, the only female in the three-astronaut crew, will be China's first teacher in space. Wang will teach about motion in a microgravity environment, surface tension of liquid, and help students understand weight, mass and Newton's Laws, said Wu.

Wang will also demonstrate while lecturing in orbit, and interact with students and teachers on Earth.

The lesson is aimed at making space more popular, as well as inspire enthusiasm for the universe and science, Wu said, adding that systematic and thorough plans have been made for the lesson in coordination with the Ministry of Education, the China Association for Science and Technology, and China Central Television.

Course materials, teaching aids and a classroom for the lesson have been prepared, while Wang has had relevant training sessions.

Wu said the time of the lesson will be decided according to the mission's schedule, and technical conditions during the assembly of the Shenzhou-10 spacecraft and Tiangong-1, a target orbiter and space module.

The world's first teacher in space was Christa McAuliffe, a 37-year-old middle school teacher from the United States, but the Space Shuttle Challenger disintegrated after 73 seconds into flight on January 28, 1986. McAuliffe and other six crew members were killed.

Barbara Morgan, McAuliffe's backup in that mission who became an astronaut later, completed the teaching lesson in space in 2007, when she was sent into the International Space Station with Space Shuttle Endeavor. Via a video feed, she showed students how to exercise and drink water in space.

The 33-year-old Wang is from east China's Shandong Province, the hometown of China's most famous educationist Confucius. She was a transport aircraft pilot in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force with experience of 1,600 hours of flying.

Wang took part in missions including disaster relief after the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in southwest China in May 2008, and clearing rain clouds before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Wang will be responsible in this mission for monitoring the conditions of the spacecraft, space experiments, operation of equipment and taking care of fellow crew members.

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