China’s Taikonauts, "Yuhangyuan" (Astronauts) Program
1 St Generation Taikonauts, "Yuhangyuan"
China’s first generation of Taikonauts encompassed a total of 14 selected Male military pilots with only six that have flown in space to date. Two of those 14 selected for Taikonauts status actually went to Russia’s manned cosmonaut training center for both training as well as education of how to set up their own countries Taikonaut training program. The process leading up to their selection extends back into the mid 1990’s.
1. China launched its first manned space mission on 15 October 2003 at 9:00 AM local time with one "Yuhangyuan" (Astronaut, in Chinese) or Taikonaut, in Shenzhou-5. The Taikonaut, a 38-year-old air force lieutenant colonel named Yang Liwei orbited the Earth 14 times in just over 20 hours.
2. On October 12, 2005 Shenzhou-6 carried Taikonauts Fei Junlong and Nie Haisheng into space for a five-day mission.
3. On September 25, 2008 Shenzhou-7 was launched with its three man crew of Taikonauts. The primary purpose of the Shenzhou-7 manned spacecraft mission is a planned 40 minute external of the spacecraft EVA performed on September 27, 2008
- Liu Boming is 42 year old from the People’s Liberation Army, as an Air Force pilot, and served as the EVA engineer pilot in the orbital module for potential rescue of the prime EVA Yuhangyuan (taikonauts) if he gets in trouble during his 40 minute EVA (20 minutes outside) outside the spacecraft. He will be wearing the Russian designed “Orlan” EVA spacesuit purchased from the Star design bureau of Moscow during and for the mission.
- Jing Haipeng is 42 years old pilot from the People’s Liberation Army, as an Air Force pilot, will remain sealed in pressurized descent module environment during EVA vacuum operations.
- Zhai Zhigang is a 41 year old Pilot Colonel in the People’s Liberation Army, and has been in the Air Force since 1985. He is married, with one son, and has demonstrated over 1,000 hour’s safe flight record to his credit. He is to be the prime EVA Engineer. He will be wearing a Chinese developed “Feithian” spacesuit based on the Russian Orlan design technology that apparently will be attached by umbilical instead of being free of the spacecraft for communications support.
2 nd. Generation Taikonauts, "Yuhangyuan"
China’s second generation of Taikonauts was selected in early 2010 and included five male fighter pilots of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) along with two married female military air transport pilots of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). Their ages varied from 27 to 34 years old. They are to undergo any where from two to three or even five years basic and mission specific intensive training for Taikonauts but some may enter flight into space as early as 2012. All have college diplomas to their credit. All have an average of 1,270 flight experience hours under their service. The seven were chosen from a total of 30 men and 15 women candidates.
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