China to Send Its First Civilian Astronaut to Space

China will send its first civilian astronaut into space. This civilian astronaut will be part of a crewed mission to the Tiangong space station on Tuesday, declared China’s Manned Space Agency. Till now all Chinese astronauts, who have traveled into space are from People’s Liberation Army.

The first civilian astronaut of China is Payload expert Gui Haichao. He is a professor at Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, China Manned Space Agency Spokesperson Lin Xiqiang told reporters on Monday. Gui’s university, known as Beihang University in English, said he hailed from an “ordinary family” in western Yunnan province.

Gui will be “mainly responsible for the on-orbit operation of space science experimental payloads”, Lin said.

The commander of this space mission is Jing Haipeng, who will take up his fourth mission into space. The third crew member is engineer Zhu Yangzhu. They are set to take off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwest China on Tuesday at 9:31 am (0131 GMT), the Manned Space Agency said.

China is planning to have a base on the Moon and the country’s National Space Administration said it aims to launch a crewed lunar mission by 2029.

China has been excluded from the International Space Station since 2011, when the United States banned NASA from engaging with the country.

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