(Yicai Global) April 24 -- China has officially kicked off its selection drive for the third batch of astronaut trainees and has expanded the selection scope from just active air force pilots to include aerospace engineers, researchers and civilian pilots.
"China will select 17 to 18 candidates for the third batch of participants in the country’s space station program after completing training," Xinhua News Agency quoted Yang Liwei, director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO), as saying.
China has selected a total of 21 astronauts through two waves of recruitment conducted between 1998 and 2010, and they have successfully completed six manned space missions to date.
The Beijing-based CMSEO’s China Astronaut Research and Training Center is responsible for the three phases of the selection process. The inclusion of engineers and payload specialists in the next group of astronauts is part of efforts to advance space station development.
Editor: William Clegg