Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

Civilians given chance to reach for the stars
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Sep 30, 2011

All Chinese astronauts have so far been selected from the military, as experts believe servicemen and women are more physically fit for missions.

Officials in charge of astronaut recruitment say civilians could soon get the chance to compete for a place on a spacecraft.

Bai Yanqiang, deputy chief of the program's astronaut system, said the astronaut team now has 20 members, but that number will be expanded to 30 once a space station is in place in about 2020.

They will be professional astronauts working as captains and engineers, he said, adding that they can work for two decades as long as they stay physically and mentally fit.

"In the future we'll also select civilians as astronauts, according to the demands of scientific experiments in space," Bai said. "Strictly speaking, they will be passengers. They won't need to learn how to pilot a spacecraft, nor will they need to do extravehicular activities."

All Chinese astronauts have so far been selected from the military, as experts believe servicemen and women are more physically fit for missions.

The manned space program recruited 14 men from the air force in 1997 as the first batch of reserve astronauts, and selected five men and two women in 2010 as the second group.

Bai said the selection process for civilian astronauts will not be as strict, but the candidates will still need to meet physical requirements, as well as be clear of pre-existing conditions, such as nose, spine, heart or mouth problems, digestive ulcers or extreme shortsightedness.

Candidates will also need to go through more than one year of training before takeoff, mainly focusing on preparing them physically for space and teaching them skills to handle possible emergencies, he said.

He did not give a timetable for the recruiting of civilian astronauts.

The first batch of reserve astronauts is now busy preparing for next year's rendezvous and docking mission between Tiangong-1 and a manned spacecraft.

Tian Liping, an astronaut training official, said the team, which includes some members that have already been on space missions, is being trained in how to use manual docking mechanics. Each member is expected to master the skill by practicing in a simulator at least 1,000 times.

The simulation requires trainees to control two handles to adjust the position of the spacecraft so that it docks with Tiangong-1. They also learn how to deal with different emergencies.

The two female astronauts recruited last year were also involved in basic training on the rendezvous and docking of spacecraft, Tian said.

Wang Xianmin, deputy chief designer of the astronaut system, added that one of the women will go on to be the first Chinese woman in space. "China's female astronaut will go into space aboard the Shenzhou X next year at the earliest," he said.

According to the plan, the manned Shenzhou X spacecraft will launch next year and dock with Tiangong-1. Astronauts will stay in Tiangong-1 for about 15 days.

If the docking of the unmanned Shenzhou VIII and Tiangong-1 succeeds later this year, the Shenzhou IX could also be manned, with two to three men on board to practice docking in both automated and manual modes, Wang said.

Source: Xinhua News Agency


Related Links
Tiangong-1 Special Report at China Daily
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

China to launch rockets with larger thrust says chief engineer
Jiuquan, China (XNA) Sep 30, 2011
China is working on the development of a new generation of carrier rockets featuring a larger thrust to cater to the demand of building a space station, a chief rocket engineer said Thursday. "The building of a space station requires carrier rockets with greater thrust as each capsule of the station will weigh about 20 tonnes," said Jing Muchun, chief engineer for the carrier rocket system ... read more

NASA Partners Uncover New Hypothesis On Crater Debris

China to launch moon-landing probe around 2013

United Launch Alliance Launches GRAIL Spacecrafts To Moon

NASA launches twin spacecraft to study Moon's core

SpaceX says 'reusable rocket' could help colonize Mars

Help NASA Find Life On Mars With MAPPER

Drilling into Arctic Ice

Lockheed Martin Completes Primary Structure of NASA's MAVEN Spacecraft

Not Because It Is Easy

World's First DNA Astronauts to Launch Into Space

Rohrabacher Demands Release of NASA's Recent On-Orbit Fuel Depot Analysis

OSU partners with NASA

Civilians given chance to reach for the stars

Tiangong-1 Forms Cornerstone Of China's Space Odyssey

"Heavenly Palace" China's dream home in space

Chief designer explains Chinese way of mastering space docking technology

Private US capsule not to dock with ISS

Crew safely returns to Earth after crash

Russia postpones next manned launch to ISS

Russia announces launch of 2 spacecraft in Oct-Nov

Sea Launch resumes operations after 2-year break

Ariane 5 marks fifth launch for 2011

Countdown to first Soyuz launch at Kourou under way

Ariane rocket launches satellites after strike delay

Doubts Over Fomalhaut b

Earth's Trapped Gas Fed the Early Atmosphere

From the Comfort of Home, Web Users May Have Found New Planets

Rocky Planets Could Have Been Born as Gas Giants

China cracks down on fake iPhones: report

RIM says committed to PlayBook amid price cuts

Orbiting ORS-1 Satellite System Operating Successfully

Chemistry team produces a game-changing catalyst

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement