Training underway for space station mission, astronaut says

Updated 2017-10-18 10:33:54 chinadaily.com.cn
Major General Jing Haipeng, delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, meets the press before the opening of the Congress in Beijing October 18, 2017.

Major General Jing Haipeng, delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, meets the press before the opening of the Congress in Beijing October 18, 2017.

China is training astronauts for the upcoming space station mission around 2020, a veteran astronaut said on Wednesday.[Special coverage]

"I am training with colleagues in preparation for the space station mission," Major General Jing Haipeng, 51, a delegate to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, told reporters before the opening of the Congress.

Their training includes underwater routines, he said, to prepare astronauts for the zero gravity environment in space.

Jing has been an astronaut on three Chinese space missions: Shenzhou-7, Shenzhou-9, and Shenzhou-11. This is his first time being a Party delegate to the CPC National Congress.

"People often ask me whether I will fly one more time," he said. "I am really eager to go to space one more time, and bring glory to the Party and the country."

China sent its first astronaut, Yang Liwei, on the Shenzhou-5 mission in 2003.

China is planning to assemble and operate a permanent manned space station with construction of the station planned for completion by around 2020.

It will enter into service around 2022, with an initial designed life of at least 10 years.

China also aims to land a probe on Mars by 2020.

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