Profile: Tang Shengjie -- China's youngest astronaut to enter space station

By Wang Chenxi (Xinhua) 09:25, October 26, 2023

JIUQUAN, Oct. 25 (Xinhua) -- China is ready to launch the Shenzhou-17 crewed spaceship on Thursday, with Tang Shengjie, the country's youngest astronaut to enter the space station, serving as one of its crew members.

"It is a great honor and great duty for me, and I feel very lucky and very happy," Tang said when meeting the press Wednesday at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

Born into a farming family in December 1989 in northwest China's Gansu Province, Tang often helped his mother do farm work, and he learned to plow the land at a very young age.

It took him a long time to walk to his school along a mountain road and he had to do so for eight years.

From a young age, Tang had shown considerable hands-on ability. Every time when the family bought a new electrical appliance, he would take it apart and tinker with it. Villagers often asked Tang to repair their broken electrical appliances.

After graduation from high school, he entered China's Aviation University of Air Force and became a fighter pilot. After nearly 13 years of service, he had flown six types of aircraft.

In 2018, China began to recruit its third batch of astronauts. Tang signed up for it. In September 2020, he was included in the third batch of astronauts.

Thanks to his childhood hobby of tinkering with electrical appliances, Tang proved good at the professional skills training needed by astronauts. Every time there was an operational course, Tang would feel very excited.

For example, during underwater training designed for extravehicular activities, he had to wear a heavy underwater suit and conduct simulated weightlessness training for five or six hours, while doing operation activities requiring extensive use of his upper limbs.

After training, he was often too fatigued to hold chopsticks. But he never got tired of training.

Two years of hard training finally earned him a ticket to space. In June 2022, Tang was selected as a crew member for the Shenzhou-17 mission.

Tang loves photography. Now he is looking forward to watching the blue planet from a different perspective in space and recording the wonders of the universe.

"What I think about more is how to complete the tasks, get scientific experiment results, do explorations, and make some contributions to the manned space mission and scientific development of our country," said Tang, when talking about the coming space mission.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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