China starts selection of third-batch astronauts
China starts selection of third-batch astronauts.
A third round of Chinese astronaut selection is underway.
China's first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1, on top of a Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan province, April 20, 2017.[Photo: Xinhua/Yang Guanyu]
The announcement comes as Chinese activities in space hit a high gear.
Last month, the cargo spacecraft, the Tianzhou-1, was successfully launched. This is considered a critical step in the creation of a Chinese space station in the coming 5 years.
Photo of Yang Liwei, deputy director of China's manned space engineering office. [Photo: http:news.youth.cn]
Yang Liwei, deputy director of China's manned space engineering office, says the new astronaut selection process is part of a move toward China's "Space Station Era."
"Scientific experiments are going to be a major part of the new space station, so we're going to need astronauts who have the right backgrounds," said Yang Liwei.
Previous astronauts in China's space program, including Yang Liwei, have all been drawn from the Chinese Air Force.
The China Youth Daily is reporting the new selection process is going to give a priority to engineering, with preference given to flight engineers and load experts with Masters degrees or above.
China's first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1 being launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan province, April 20, 2017. [Photo: Xinhua/Ju Zhenhua]
The training standards for the new astronauts have also been adjusted.
"The physical fitness requirements maybe less strict than the previous two rounds, but we'll put more emphasis on psychological resilience, including tests to determine how well the candidates can perform long-term work in small spaces," said Yang.
Between 10 and 12 people are to be selected in this current round of astronaut selections, including two women, said authorities.