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Shenhou-9 astronauts wow Macao crowd

(China Daily)

07:54, August 15, 2012

Liu Yang, a crew member of the Shenzhou IX manned space mission, greets Macao residents on Monday. The delegation, which includes the Shenzhou IX astronauts, started their three-day visit to Macao on Monday afternoon. Provided to China Daily

The three astronauts who completed China's first manned space-docking mission in June shared their feelings with nearly 1,000 people, including representatives of Macao's technical and educational circles, social groups and college students on Tuesday.

Audience members asked more than 140 questions of the Tiangong 1/Shenzhou IX space delegation, which includes veteran astronaut Jing Haipeng, China's first woman astronaut Liu Yang and crewmate Liu Wang. Leading the group was Niu Hongguang, deputy commander-in-chief of the manned space program.

Jing Haipeng, who was on the Shenzhou VIII mission in 2008, talked about the differences between the two space missions.

Liu Yang shared stories about how she received extra training in order to become an excellent astronaut, and how she had not been anywhere other than home and work for two years.

"It demands superlative fortitude to do just one thing in one's whole life," she said, which moved the audience and won warm applause.

Lau Si Io, Macao's secretary for transport and public works, said the presentation will give Macao people a better understanding of the country's aerospace technology development.

The Tiangong 1/Shenzhou IX space delegation wrapped up its four-day visit to Hong Kong and arrived in Macao to a hero's welcome on Monday afternoon. About 500 students and residents waited for nearly an hour despite showers before the astronauts walked off their ferry at about 4:40 pm.

The delegation is expected to leave Macao on Wednesday.

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