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President Xi vows bigger stride in space exploration in talk with astronauts


09:26, June 24, 2013

BEIJING, June 24 (Xinhua) -- President Xi Jinping said that the Chinese people will take bigger strides in space exploration, during his talk to astronauts aboard the orbiting space module Tiangong-1 on Monday.

"The space dream is part of the dream to make China stronger. With the development of space programs, the Chinese people will take bigger strides to explore further into the space," said Xi, making the video call at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

He expressed his sincere greetings to the three astronauts who embarked on their space journey on June 11.

"You have worked and lived in space for 13 days. We all care about you very much," Xi told crew members Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping.

Nie, commander of the crew, said they felt very well and were working as scheduled.

"We feel very proud to be able to contribute to realizing the Chinese nation's space dream," Nie said.

Wang, China's first teacher in space, said the crew members could rest seven to eight hours per day.

Speaking of China's first space lecture on June 20, Xi said it would play an important role in fostering students' interest in sciences and exploring the space.

About 60 million students from 80,000 schools watched the 40-minute live lecture when Wang lectured about motion in micro-gravity environments and the surface tension of liquid in space, supporting her lecture with various demonstrations.

The manned space mission has reflected the courage to defy hardship and explore, a spirit that would inspire the entire nation, Xi said.

The dialogue won applause from the audience at the aerospace control center. Xi also shook hands with field staff at the center and expressed his greetings.

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