Jiuquan, China -- A Chinese space shuttle took off Saturday with a special piece of cargo--the country's first female astronaut.
The country sent the woman, Liu Yang, 33, and two male astronauts on the mission.
The shuttle launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on the edge of the Gobi Desert. The group is set to dock with a prototype space lab launched last year, a key step toward building a permanent space station.
The crew is expected to work for one week.
China sent its first man into space in 2003, had it's first two-man mission in 2005 and its first three-man mission in 2008.