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10 candidates selected for China's fourth batch of astronauts


 , Updated 16:07, 11-Jun-2024

Ten candidates, including eight space pilots and two payload specialists, have been selected for China's fourth batch of astronauts, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced on Tuesday.

Of the two payload specialists, one is from Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the other is from Macao Special Administrative Region, said the CMSA. It added this is first time it has selected payload specialists in Hong Kong and Macao, a move which has garnered strong support and enthusiastic participation from local communities.

The candidates will undergo comprehensive and systematic training at the China Astronaut Research and Training Center.

The CMSA announced in late May that China plans to realize manned lunar landing by 2030. Huang Weifen, chief designer of the manned space program's astronaut system, said the building of an astronaut team, from the selection of astronauts to the training programs, has been designed to support both the space station missions and future lunar missions.

"For the training of our existing second and third batches of astronauts, as well as the upcoming fourth batch, we have opened fundamental courses related to geology. We have also arranged for the astronauts relevant training, including field studies and geological surveys. When the development of training simulators for manned lunar missions is completed, we will be able to unfold more substantive training tasks," said Huang. 

"Currently, we are making preliminary preparations and involving both our existing astronauts and the newly selected astronauts in engineering development work to allow them to study in the frontline of scientific research and to make the technical reserve for future missions," she said.

The selection of the fourth batch of Chinese astronaut candidates began in the second half of 2022.

China selected 14 astronauts from air force pilots in 1998 and an additional seven in 2010. In 2020, it completed the selection of the third batch of 18 astronauts, which included space pilots, flight engineers and payload specialists.

The CMSA said that China's astronaut selection and training system has become more sophisticated and well-established. As international cooperation in crewed space exploration deepens, foreign astronauts will be invited to participate in the selection and training process, and subsequently carry out missions in China's space station.

(With input from Xinhua)

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