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International Women's Day 2022: China's 1st woman on space station sends message from orbit

The first woman on China's space station beamed a message to Earth Tuesday (March 8) to celebrate International Women's Day from orbit.

"Dear fellow women, hello, I'm Chinese astronaut Wang Yaping. I'm currently carrying out a six-month mission in the China space station," Wang said in the video message from aboard the orbiting Tiangong space station module Tianhe. I wish all my fellow women around the world a very happy International Women's Day!

"I would like to take this opportunity to thank every woman for their selfless devotion," Wang added. "I also wish that every woman out there can reach for the brightest stars in life and pursue the career we love."

Related: Pioneering women in space: A gallery of astronaut firsts

China's Shenzhou 13 astronaut Wang Yaping sends an International Women's Day greeting to women everywhere from aboard the Tiangong space station module Tianhe on March 8, 2022.

China's Shenzhou 13 astronaut Wang Yaping sends an International Women's Day greeting to women everywhere from aboard the Tiangong space station module Tianhe on March 8, 2022. (Image credit: CCTV/CMSE)

Wang Yaping became the China National Space Administration's second female astronaut to reach space back in 2013, a year after Liu Yang made history on Shenzhou 9. Wang has been aboard the Tianhe space module since October and is due to return to Earth with her Shenzhou 13 colleagues Zhang Zhigang and Ye Guangfu in mid-April. They launched to the Tiangong station in October 2021.

In November Wang became the first Chinese woman to embark on an extravehicular activity, or spacewalk.

Wang is not the only woman in space this International Women's Day.  NASA astronaut Kayla Barron is currently working aboard the International Space Station as part of the orbiting lab's Expedition 66 crew. 

Barron launched to ISS in November 2021 alongside three crewmates for a six-month trip to the orbing lab. She and her crewmates are due to return to Earth in April. 

Wang and Barron are two of 10 people currently living in space. There are three astronauts on China's Tiangong space station and seven on the International Space Station, including four NASA astronauts, two Russian cosmonauts and one European astronaut representing Germany.

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Andrew Jones
Andrew Jones

Andrew is a freelance space journalist with a focus on reporting on China's rapidly growing space sector. He began writing for Space.com in 2019 and writes for SpaceNews, IEEE Spectrum, National Geographic, Sky & Telescope, New Scientist and others. Andrew first caught the space bug when, as a youngster, he saw Voyager images of other worlds in our solar system for the first time. Away from space, Andrew enjoys trail running in the forests of Finland. You can follow him on Twitter @AJ_FI.