China's space station to open for foreign peers

Updated: 2013-09-18 00:05

By Zhao Lei (China Daily)

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China is willing to provide training and open the Chinese space station to foreign astronauts, senior space flight officials said.

We would like to train astronauts from other countries and organizations that have such a demand, and we would be glad to provide trips to foreign astronauts," said Yang Liwei, deputy director of China Manned Space Agency. We will also welcome foreign astronauts who have received our training to work in our future space station."

Yang, China's first astronaut, who went into space in 2003, said many countries submitted proposals to the Chinese government during the development of the space station, hoping China would help train their astronauts and then send them to the station to conduct scientific experiments.

The effect of including foreign participants in our space programs is not only that these nations can send their people to outer space, but also that we will enable them to develop their own space projects."

Yang made the remarks during the five-day United Nations/China Workshop on Human Space Technology, which opened in Beijing on Monday.

A total of 150 participants from more than 20 nations and regions attended the conference. They are expected to discuss new space projects, microgravity research, international cooperation as well as awareness education for the public.

China has been involved in a host of cooperative projects with other nations, according to Yang.

China and Russia have collaborated on astronaut training, spacecraft technology and extra-vehicular suits, and we are cooperating with our French counterparts on a variety of experiments in astrobiology and space medicine," he said, adding that Chinese and German scientists also performed astrobiological experiments during the unmanned Shenzhou VIII mission in 2011.

Astronauts from the European Space Agency and their Chinese peers have visited each other's training facilities, laying a solid foundation for further communication.

The exchanges with other countries and organizations will make us familiar with their techniques and experiences, hence boosting our research and development of the space station."

Receiving congratulations on the 10th anniversary of his space mission, Yang said China is also determined to assist other developing economies in the space flight, noting that existing cooperative projects between China and developing economies focus on the application of astronautic and space technologies, and training for professionals.

He also said his agency has signed many agreements with universities in Hong Kong to conduct joint research on space technology, and they also have taken part in previous space activities.

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