On Saturday, China will send a female astronaut into space for the first time.

Liu Yang, 33, was a lieutenant fighter pilot in China's air forces. She and two male astronauts will board the Shenzhou 9 for a Saturday lift-off; they will then attempt to dock with the Tiangong 1, an orbiting trial module launched by China last year.

This makes China the third country ever to send a woman beyond Earth's atmosphere.

Within a decade, China hopes to have its own space station in orbit, which will house a laboratory in which scientists can work for prolonged periods of time.

China's progress in the field of space exploration evinces its rapid technological development in recent years but also raises concerns about their defense ambitions and whether the country's social and economic problems have been put on the back burner.

Liu addressed reporters on Friday, according to Reuters, saying that she yearns to experience the wondrous, weightless environment of space, see the Earth and gaze upon the motherland.