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China begins oceanauts recruitment process


18:58, July 02, 2013

BEIJING, July 2 (Xinhua) -- China on Tuesday kicked off a five-month recruitment process for oceanauts to serve in its deep-diving submersible Jiaolong.

Six individuals, including two women, will be selected to train as oceanauts for Jiaolong's future missions, said a National Deep Sea Center statement.

"We have very strict physical, psychological and professional requirements for selecting oceanauts," said Liu Baohua, the center's Party chief. "The strict requirements can compare to those for astronauts."

The center is looking for male candidates aged between 22 and 35 and female candidates between 22 and 30, who should be college graduates or postgraduates having majored in engineering, electrical science and technology, or naval architecture and ocean engineering, the statement said.

There is not much room inside the submersible, which means candidates have to be of moderate height and weight, Liu explained.

Male oceanauts should be between 1.65 and 1.76 meters high while females have to be between 1.6 and 1.7 meters, according to Liu.

Candidates have to be mentally and physically stable as they will be spending several hours in darkness inside the submersible.

"People who suffer claustrophobia and seasickness are definitely not suitable," Liu said.

Besides physical requirements, oceanauts should be skilled in engineering and have an academic background of ocean sciences.

Chinese citizens can sign up for selection through the center's website,

The selection will last for five months and applicants will go through a number of tests, interviews and medical examinations in order to make the final list.

However, to be a qualified oceanaut, they will have to receive training for at least two years, Liu said.

"It will take time and hard work from being a trainee to becoming an oceanaut," he said.

So far China has only two oceanauts, both male. They took the Jiaolong to a record depth of 7,062 meters in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench in June 2012.

This year, the Jiaolong completed four deep-sea dives from June 17 to 20, collecting rare creatures and mineral samples, and has entered a five-year trial operation before it goes into regular service.

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