In 2012, China became the third nation to send women into space with its own space program, after the Soviet Union/Russia and the United States, 49 years after the first female cosmonaut, Valentina Tereshkova.
Following the successful piloted flight of Shenzhou 5 in October 2003, China announced plans to send a woman into space as well. Gu Xiulian, president of the All-China Women's Federation (ACWF), told a gathering that she proposed that women, too, should be trained for space missions after China's first piloted space trip.
Initially, the criteria for women to be selected, included having been married, having had a child, having no bad health problems. The marriage and having had children criteria were later said to have been dropped.
On 16 June 2012, Major Liu Yang was the first Chinese woman launched into space aboard the Shenzhou 9 with two male counterparts to the Chinese space station Tiangong-1. Liu was not drawn from the fighter pilot cadre, but instead is a veteran PLAAF transport pilot. The mission took off at 6:37 p.m. (12:37 GMT) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert. She launched on the 49th anniversary of the launch of Vostok 6, the first spaceshot of a woman, Valentina Tereshkova.
On 16 June 2013, the 50th anniversary of the launch of Vostok 6, two women were in space, one of them Chinese, the second Chinese woman in space, Wang Yaping, aboard Tiangong-1 on the 3-man Shenzhou 10 mission, and Karen Nyberg on the 6-man Expedition 36 aboard the International Space Station. The mission had lifted off on 11 June 2013.
|Liu Yang||Shenzhou 9||2012||Also first female Chinese mission to the Chinese space station|
|Wang Yaping||Shenzhou 10||2013||Second Chinese women in space, and second one to Tiangong-1 space station|
|First Chinese woman in space||16 June 2012||Shenzhou 9||Liu Yang|||
|First Chinese woman in orbit||16 June 2012||Shenzhou 9||Liu Yang|||
|First Chinese woman aboard a space station||18 June 2012||Shenzhou 9||Liu Yang||Liu Yang goes aboard Tiangong-1 space station.|
|First Chinese woman to spacewalk||N/A||N/A||none|
|First Chinese woman to command a mission||N/A||N/A||none|
|First Chinese woman to go on multiple missions||N/A||N/A||none|
|Longest time in space (single mission)||15 days
|Longest time in space (cumulative)||15 days (Shenzhou 10)||Wang Yaping|
|Shortest time in space (single mission)||13 days
|Liu Yang||At least 1-mission (zero-missions excluded)|
|Shortest time in space (cumulative)||13 days (Shenzhou 9)||Liu Yang||At least 1-mission (zero-missions excluded)|
|Longest time on EVA (single spacewalk)||N/A||none|
|Longest time on EVA (cumulative)||N/A||none|
|Shortest time on EVA (single spacewalk)||N/A||none||At least 1-spacewalk (zero-spacewalks excluded)|
|Shortest time on EVA (cumulative)||N/A||none||At least 1-spacewalk (zero-spacewalks excluded)|
|Most space missions||1 mission|
|Least space missions||1 mission||At least 1-mission (zero-missions excluded)|
|Least EVAs||N/A||none||At least 1-spacewalk (zero-spacewalks excluded)|