2nd LD: China unveils Shenzhou-16 crew, with diverse types of taikonauts to space station

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, May 29, 2023
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JIUQUAN, May 29 (Xinhua) -- Chinese taikonauts Jing Haipeng, Zhu Yangzhu, and Gui Haichao will carry out the Shenzhou-16 spaceflight mission, and Jing will be the commander, the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced at a press conference on Monday.

Jing, a senior spacecraft pilot, will become the country's first taikonaut to go into space for the fourth time. He was involved in the Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008 and commanded the Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-11 crews in 2012 and 2016, respectively.

Zhu and Gui are set to embark on their first trip to space. Born in 1986, they are members of China's third batch of taikonauts, whose selection was completed by September 2020.

Zhu will serve as a spaceflight engineer in the Shenzhou-16 mission. He will work with commander Jing to control and manage the spacecraft, and conduct technical tests. Gui, a civilian taikonaut and a spectacled professor at Beijing-based Beihang University, will work as a payload expert responsible for the in-orbit operations of science experiment payloads in China's Tiangong space station.

Compared to previous crews, the Shenzhou-16 comprises a diverse trio of male astronauts from different career backgrounds, including aircraft pilot, flight engineer and payload specialist.

"This is the first crewed mission with the participation of three types of taikonauts," Lin Xiqiang, deputy director of the CMSA, said at the press conference.

Although the fresh crew has a 20-year age gap, the three have worked together very well.

"We have gotten along like a family," said Jing when the trio met the press on Monday.

According to the CMSA, among China's third batch of taikonauts, seven are spacecraft pilots, seven are flight engineers and four are payload experts. After more than two years of rigorous training, they have become capable of performing spaceflight tasks.

"All of them have started targeted training for the space station in the new stage and will become the backbones of the follow-up missions," Lin said, adding that more new members will be selected to be space travelers in the future.

The Shenzhou-16 crewed spaceship will be launched at 9:31 a.m. Tuesday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. It will be the first crew mission after China's space station program entered the stage of application and development.

The three taikonauts will stay in orbit for about five months, Lin said. Enditem

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