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12 Things To Know About Liu Yang, China's First Female Astronaut

She wasn't allowed to have scars or bad teeth — and she's a famed fighter pilot.

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3. She used to be a fighter pilot.

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At 18, shortly after graduating high school, Yang applied to join the People's Liberation Army. Since then, she's logged 1,680 hours of flight for the PLA and has earned the ranks of major and deputy head of a flight unit.

4. She's well-regarded in China for her courage.

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She's famous for safely landing her fighter jet after a collision with a flock of 18 pigeons left her window covered in blood. China Daily called her a "hero pilot."

6. She was selected out of 21 female pilots with similar service records.

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Government officials began the selection process in 2009. In March 2010, they narrowed down the search to two women. Two years later, they announced their choice. (Her competitor, Wang Yaping, is pictured on the left.)

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