A glimpse of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center's control room during a rocket launch. (Photo : YouTube/CCTV+)
The aerospace industry is dominated by men. But lately, more women are making valuable contributions to the industry, regardless of the dangers that come with the job.
Four female technicians working at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in north China have shown that when it comes to working with rocket ships, they are every bit as capable as their male counterparts. Women of China reports that despite difficulties, these technicians have managed to get their respective jobs done.
Zhang Weihong, a senior engineer at JSLC, said that her team is responsible for carrying out safety inspections around the launch platform. Apart from dealing with the area’s extreme weather conditions, Zhang revealed that her job can be dangerous.
“I need to climb up and down the outdoor 50-meter tower, whatever effect it might be on my body,” said Zhang.
Meanwhile, 32-year-old energy expert Zhang Yan said that her main job is to do electricity testing at each sub-system that fuels the rocket system.
Shi Changxiang’s job puts her in the spotlight, as she is tasked with giving the igniting gesture at the exact moment after the five-second countdown.
As for Wei Xiao, the 31-year-old leads the telemonitoring team. From her post, she listens to the sound of the rocket on her earphones instead of looking at the actual scene.
With these women based in the desert part of north China’s inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, their base of operations is often hit by sandstorms, which may delay operations. But they are determined to do a good job as China is gearing up to dominate space.
It is expected that along with more female technicians, more female astronauts will be joining China’s movement as the country becomes a contender in the aerospace industry. Back in 2012, Liu Yang became the first Chinese woman to reach space, which is a significant achievement for Asian women.
At the time, Liu told Space that she is “honored” to perform the mission on behalf of all Chinese spacewomen. It’s likely that the aerospace industry and the world will see more from Liu and the four JSLC technicians in the future.