By Ryan Woo
BEIJING (Reuters) -The youngest-ever crew of Chinese language astronauts departed for China’s space station on Thursday, paving the best way for a brand new era of “taikonauts” to advance the nation’s space ambitions sooner or later.
The spacecraft Shenzhou-17, or “Divine Vessel”, and its three passengers lifted off atop a Lengthy March-2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite tv for pc Launch Centre in northwest China.
Main the six-month mission was former air power pilot Tang Hongbo, 48, who was on the primary crewed mission to the space station in 2021.
His return to the orbiting outpost Tiangong, or “Celestial Palace” in Chinese language, additionally set a brand new report for the shortest interval between two spaceflight missions by taikonauts – coined from the Chinese language phrase for space – suggesting a sooner rotation of taikonauts in coming years.
Tang, from China’s second batch of astronauts in 2010, had to wait greater than a decade earlier than he was picked for his inaugural spaceflight in 2021.
Against this, his fellow Shenzhou-17 crew members Tang Shengjie, 33, and Jiang Xinlin, 35, each travelling to space for the primary time, joined China’s third batch of astronauts in September 2020.
China has already kickstarted the choice course of for the fourth batch of astronauts, searching for candidates with doctoral levels in disciplines from biology, physics and chemistry to biomedical engineering and astronomy.
It is usually opening the method to candidates from Hong Kong and Macau for the primary time.
The primary and second batches of astronauts have been all former air power pilots, like Tang, who joined the Folks’s Liberation Military in 1995 at age 20.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo; Modifying by Tom Hogue and Gerry Doyle)