Profile: Li Cong, new space explorer dreaming of soaring high

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, April 25, 2024
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by Xinhua Writer Zhang Dan

JIUQUAN, April 25 (Xinhua) -- With the countdown ticking for China's Shenzhou-18 crewed spaceship, set for launch on Thursday, astronaut Li Cong is palpably excited to embark on his maiden space journey alongside two fellow crew members.

"It is the great progress of our country and the times that have afforded me the opportunity to fly into space, and I have the confidence to accomplish our mission smoothly, efficiently and successfully," Li, the youngest member of the Shenzhou-18 crew, told journalists during a media briefing on Wednesday.

Born in a small village in north China's Hebei Province in 1989, Li resolved to study hard from a young age. His efforts paid off when he excelled in the senior high school entrance examination, earning admission to the top local high school.

His life took a significant turn when he attended the Air Force pilot recruitment. Watching footage of pilots soaring through the sky in fighter jets thrilled every fiber of his being.

During his four years at the Aviation University of the Air Force, Li demonstrated outstanding performance every year.

He recalls that his first experience of flying a primary training aircraft into the sky remains vivid to this day, leaving an indelible impression on him. "I felt dizzy, and my stomach was churning. I even felt like I was about to die."

After the initial hiccup, he revisited his determination to become a pilot and resolved to try again. The second time he took to the sky, his focus shifted from tightly gripping the control stick to admiring the magnificent landscapes of his homeland. The traces of fear gradually faded away.

He cherished the opportunity to fly even more after regaining his confidence. Through repeated practice, Li evolved into an excellent fighter pilot.

Watching news of astronauts embarking on space missions on television ignited his dream of flying higher and farther.

In September 2020, he was successfully recruited as one of the country's third batch of astronauts after rounds of demanding selection process.

With the completion of China's space station construction, the frequency of crewed space missions has increased from once every few years to twice a year.

Despite the growing number of spaceflight opportunities, Li and his fellow astronauts must now absorb more information in a significantly shorter period. The competition for a chance to venture into space is never easy.

One challenge he faced was underwater training, which required astronauts to operate extensively with their upper limbs while clad in pressurized and heavy training suits.

After several rounds of training, he came to the conclusion that underwater training requires techniques suitable for oneself instead of relying on brute force.

"All my efforts and dedication have been worthwhile," he wrote in his training journal after being selected as one of the Shenzhou-18 crew members. Enditem

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