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China prepares to send first civilian into space

China is set to send its first civilian astronaut into space on Tuesday as part of a crewed mission to the Tiangong space station. This milestone is a significant step
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China prepares to send first civilian into space

China is set to send its first civilian astronaut into space on Tuesday as part of a crewed mission to the Tiangong space station. This milestone is a significant step towards China’s ambitious goal of a manned lunar landing by 2030.

As the world’s second-largest economy, China has made substantial investments in its military-led space program, aiming to catch up with the United States and Russia after lagging behind in certain milestones.

Previously, all Chinese astronauts sent to space were members of the People’s Liberation Army. However, in this upcoming mission, Gui Haichao, a professor at Beijing’s Beihang University, will become China’s first civilian astronaut. Gui will be responsible for managing scientific experiments on the Tiangong space station, according to Lin Xiqiang, spokesperson for the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA).

During the mission, Gui will conduct large-scale in-orbit experiments, focusing on areas such as the study of novel quantum phenomena, high-precision space time-frequency systems, the verification of general relativity, and the origin of life, Lin stated.

Expressing his excitement, Gui shared his long-standing dream of going to space during a press conference. Hailing from an ordinary family in the southwest province of Yunnan, Gui’s interest in aerospace was sparked when he heard the news of China’s first manned space mission conducted by Yang Liwei in 2003, as he listened to it on the campus radio, as per Gui’s university.

The inclusion of Gui Haichao in the mission holds particular significance, according to independent analyst Chen Lan. Previous missions primarily featured astronauts trained as pilots with more technical responsibilities, while Gui, as a specialist scientist, represents a new development in China’s space program.

China’s progress in manned space exploration highlights its commitment to advancing scientific knowledge and technological capabilities. With the launch of its own space station and the inclusion of civilian astronauts, China is making strides towards becoming a leading player in the realm of space exploration and research.

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