China is projected to recruit 12 to 14 new reserve astronauts, and the selection, which started in September, is open, for the first time, to payload experts from Hong Kong and Macao, according to the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) on Monday.
It will be the fourth batch of the country's reserve astronauts. The preliminary selection is currently in progress. The reexamination and confirmation processes will be followed.
Researchers and teachers from sci-tech institutions, universities, and colleges in Hong Kong and Macao in the field of biomedical engineering, machinery, electronics, material, chemistry, and astronomy enthusiastically applied for the selection, said Ji Qiming, assistant to the CMSA director, at a press conference on Monday.
The selection work in the two regions is running smoothly, as the basic qualifications screening has been completed and the clinical examination is underway, according to the CMSA.
China had selected 18 reserve astronauts as its third batch by October 2020, including seven spacecraft pilots, seven flight engineers, and four payloads experts, among them one female.
The 18 reserve astronauts are required to complete training with more than 400 courses in eight categories. They have now finished all courses and the majority of professional skill training, and some have started targeted drills designed for following space missions, said Ji.
Also, China is carrying out relevant preparations for training international astronauts, Ji added.