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China choosing astronauts for space docking mission

(Beijing Daily)

15:28, October 13, 2011

Edited and Translated by Yao Chun, People's Daily Online

The astronauts who will perform the first space docking mission on the Chinese manned space engineering station will be selected soon. With the increase of activity space for astronauts in this task, there is a greater possibility that the astronauts will suffer from space sickness, according to the information from the official website of China Manned Space Engineering.

"In the next year, the Shenzhou 8 and Shenzhou 9 spacecraft are expected to be launched and bring astronauts to space, where they will carry out manned space docking tasks," said Chen Shanguang, the general commander and designer of astronaut program.

In order to ensure the smooth completion of the manned docking tasks, the astronaut program has made sufficient preparations. The astronauts for the first and the second docking tasks are all well trained. The two female astronauts, who will possibly participate in the flight of Shenzhou 10 spacecraft and will cooperate with these male astronauts in space, have received especially pointed training.

In addition to breakthroughs made in docking technology, the docking task has demanded more from the astronauts in terms of training: they are faced with the transition from short-term flight to medium and long-term flights.

Chen said that though certain astronauts have performed well during the Shenzhou 5 and Shenzhou 7 spacecraft flight, it does not mean we have totally resolved the problems of life maintenance in space.

This aerospace medicine experiment is focused on exploring men's physiology and psychology in medium and long-term flights, such as changes in cardiovascular, nerve, skeletal and neuromuscular systems.

These issues are not only the focal points for medium and long term flights in China's manned space engineering but also the subject of interest for the manned space engineering community in the world at large.

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