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Candidates from Hong Kong, Macao shortlisted for China's new taikonaut selection

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-10-25 12:59

JIUQUAN - More than 20 candidates have been shortlisted for the final selection of China's fourth generation of taikonauts, including several candidates from Hong Kong and Macao, the China Manned Space Agency announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

The selection process was launched in 2022, with the aim of selecting 12 to 14 reserve taikonauts. The selection will include different fields of expertise, such as spacecraft pilots, spaceflight engineers and payload specialists.

Lin Xiqiang, the agency's spokesperson, said the spacecraft pilots will be selected from aviators now serving in the armed forces. The flight engineers and payload specialists will be chosen from those in relevant industries, universities and scientific research institutions.

"For the first time, the post of payload specialist is open to candidates from Hong Kong and Macao," Lin added.

In March 2023, the first round of the new taikonaut selection was completed, with 100-plus candidates being picked. The second round wrapped up in August, and more than 20 candidates advanced to the finals.

According to Lin, the selection work is set to wrap up before the end of this year. If they can pass the final selection, the candidates from Hong Kong and Macao will enter the taikonaut research and training center early next year.

"Let's look forward to their good news," Lin said.

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