29 January 2017
In October 2003, after orbiting the world 14 times and traveling 600,000 kilometers, Yang Liwei landed safely back on Earth and in the history books. Like millions of other people across China, pilot Wang Yaping was mesmerized by what she saw. But to her, those static images represented more than just achievement. She saw an opportunity. "He was the first male taikonaut. Who would be the first female?" The fame and glory of those who actually make the trip into space often dwarfs the sacrifices of those who remain with their feet on the ground. Taikonauts are sons, daughters, wives, husbands, mothers and fathers. Their families too, experience a form of weightlessness as they watch, wait, hope and pray for their loved ones to come home.
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