by Morris Jones
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Oct 16, 2016
China has named veteran astronaut Jing Haipeng and rookie Chen Dong as the crew of Shenzhou 11. The naming of the crew is the final big announcement before the launch of China's longest space mission.
Jing is a veteran of the Shenzhou 7 and Shenzhou 9 missions. It's noteworthy that he has previously visited the Tiangong 1 space laboratory, giving him experience in flying a space docking. Jing will be China's first thrice-flown astronaut.
Chen Dong is a relatively recent recruit to the astronaut corps. Little is known about him.
The release of this information breaks a period of relative silence that has plagued the lead-up to the mission in recent days. China seems to have soft-pedaled its coverage, with slightly less media than for previous missions. That silence was broken with a special half-hour report on China Central Television, followed by live coverage of a major media conference at the Jiuquan launch site.
The launch will be covered live on China Central Television, and also on China Radio International, where this correspondent will perform English-language coverage of the launch. Let the coverage continue. Let the mission begin.
Dr Morris Jones is an Australian space analyst who has written for spacedaily.com since 1999. Email morrisjonesNOSPAMhotmail.com. Replace NOSPAM with @ to send email. Dr Jones will answer media inquiries.
China Manned Space Engineering Agency
the missing link The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com
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