German astronaut eager to step onto China's Space Station
"China's Space Station is the place I want to go the most and I want to work with different countries' astronauts on China's Space Station in the future," said Matthias Maurer, a German astronaut.
Astronaut Matthias Maurer at a training center for the European Space Agency, stands next to a model of a space capsule. [File photo:IC]
The 48-year-old Maurer has spent 6 years learning Chinese in order to work aboard China's Space Station. As part of his preparation, he trained in a maritime-rescue training program organized by Shangdong Province last summer.This program includes maritime-survival training, maritime-search training, and maritime-rescue by helicopter training, which was designed to prepare astronauts with the skills needed to rescue themselves during the sea landing.
During the training program, Maurer worked with a female Italian astronaut and they learned Chinese together. He even gave himself a Chinese name, "Ma Fei". "Fei" means "fly" in Chinese, which indicates his resolution to fly high into space. He also worked with Ye Guangfu,a Chinese astronaut who was assigned to him at during the training program.
"We kept reminding and helping each other during the training.For example,he would hold my body when I was exhausted swimming to the survival boat and I would pull him up when I climbed on the boat"said Ye Guangfu.
In 2016, China and the United Nations signed the MOU to jointly utilize China's Space Station and utilize it for more scientific experimental research for different countries. China officially announced that China's Space Station will open to all members in the UN and welcomes the participation of all the countries.
It is said that China plans to operate China's Space Station beginning in 2022.China will become the only country that has a Space Station after the International Space Station retires in 2024.