China has built a state-of-the-art Space City, a sprawling complex in the North West of Beijing with simulators to train astronauts. It is the Chinese government’s most ambitious and expensive mega-project called “Project 921,” the manned-space programme. Though the space programme was announced in 1970s it accelerated only during 1990s and picked up momentum in 1998 and 2010.
The astronauts are all People’s Liberation Army pilots and officers and so have many commonalities like university degrees, Party membership and around the same height and under a certain weight.
Commander Nie, one of the three China’s best-known astronauts and the crew of the 2013 Shenzhou-10 mission, says that they are ordinary people but had certain aspects that made them more suitable for the space programme.
All of the crew of the 15-day Shenzhou-10 mission was passed over for missions at least once.
Nearly 15 years of training and the space flight lasted only for 15 days which translates to a year of training for a day of travel!. Astronauts Nie Haisheng, Zhang Xiaoguang and Wang Yaping are savouring their training period when they enjoyed the zero gravity situation which allowed them to practice tai chi upside down and float around like fish. Wang Yaping is the most famous in the group
When other nations are reducing their space budget, China is increasing it.