Credit: CCTV/Inside Outer Space screengrab

China is augmenting its astronaut corps to support at least two crews of three individuals each to fly space missions in 2023.

Yang Liwei, deputy chief designer of China’s manned space program, told China Central Television (CCTV) that the country has begun the selection of the fourth group of space travelers which will have 12 to 14 new astronauts. Yang is the first person sent into space by the Chinese space program in October 2003.

The third generation of Chinese astronauts consists of 18 astronauts in total – 17 male and one female. Among them, seven will be working as spacecraft pilots, seven as spaceflight engineers and four as payload specialists.

Chinese space travelers in training.
Credit: CMSE

Intensive training

“The training program for the astronauts is quite intensive. We strive to ensure that they can fully meet the training goals in the more than two years, so as to make sure all the new astronauts are capable of conducting future space explorations,” said Yang.

According to Yang, China’s space program plan calls for at least two three-astronaut crews carrying out Chinese space missions each year.

The recruitment of the fourth-generation new astronauts is expected to be completed in 18 months, according to CCTV.

Leave a Reply