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News > China

China To Send a Civilian Into Space

  • Members of the Shenzhou-16 crewed spaceship, May, 2023.

    Members of the Shenzhou-16 crewed spaceship, May, 2023. | Photo: Xinhua

Published 29 May 2023

The Shenzhou 16 crew are ready to start their five-month stay on the China Space Station.

On Monday, the China Manned Space Agency announcewd that the Shenzhou-16 crewed spaceship is scheduled to be launched at 9:31 a.m. on Tuesday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. For the first time, an engineer would be among those flying to the nation's space station. The lucky man making this pioneering step is flight engineer Zhu Yangzhu.


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"I am full of expectations for this space trip and hope to witness more higher-level sci-tech achievements in orbit," Zhu said at a press conference on Monday.

A former university teacher with a doctoral degree, Zhu said he has made the rapid transition to a "spaceflight soldier" thanks to his career accomplishments and the nurturing of the times. He also sees the space mission as the result of his decade-long pursuit of flying.

Born in 1986 in Peixian County, Zhu was fascinated with flying as a child. His middle school was a pilot selection base, which allowed him to gain experience with aviation technology.

He failed to become a pilot for various reasons, but stuck with his passion by applying to major in aircraft systems and engineering at the National University of Defense Technology.

He began his teaching career at a university in 2017 after he completed his postdoctoral research under Qian Qihu, a renowned Chinese military engineer. Zhu gave full play to his talent there, and was soon promoted to associate professor.

In September 2020, Zhu was selected as one of the country's third batch of 18 astronauts, including six other flight engineers. Last year, all his persistence and endurance paid off when he was appointed to carry out the Shenzhou-16 crewed mission.

During his stay in orbit, Zhu's tasks will include routine maintenance and repair of the space station, as well as conducting relevant technical tests and experiments.

"I also look forward to looking down on the beautiful Earth from the space station and sharing my space experience with my family," Zhu said. 


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