Wed, 27 Sep 2023

© Provided by Xinhua

JIUQUAN, May 29 (Xinhua) -- "Frankly speaking, I feel quite calm right now," said Jing Haipeng, who will become the country's first astronaut to go into space for a fourth time.

Jing Haipeng, Zhu Yangzhu, and Gui Haichao, the three Chinese astronauts for the upcoming Shenzhou-16 mission, met the press on Monday.

The Shenzhou-16 crewed spaceship is expected to be launched at 9:31 a.m. Tuesday (Beijing Time) from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China.

Jing, commander of the Shenzhou-16 mission, said he has been preparing for the mission for a long time.

Jing said 600 push-ups, 600 sit-ups, and jumping ropes have become his daily routine, and he has memorized every word of the flight manuals and operation guides.

Shenzhou-16 is the second flight mission of China's manned space program this year, and the first crewed mission after China's space station entered the application and development stage. The crew will stay in orbit for about five months.

As the spaceflight engineer of the Shenzhou-16 mission, Zhu is a postdoctoral fellow in aerodynamics and a former university teacher. Zhu said he is lucky to catch up with a new era, in which everyone who works hard has the opportunity to realize his dreams and values in life.

"Over the past two years, I have grown from an ordinary university teacher to a spaceflight soldier, which is the achievement of my career and the nurturing of the time," said Zhu.

Gui, the country's first payload expert, said he is responsible for managing, maintaining, and repairing scientific experiment equipment aboard the space station. He will also carry out space science experiments, including equipment operation, experiment conditions control, as well as data collection and analysis.

Gui, a professor at Beihang University, is also the country's first civilian astronaut into space. He said although the Shenzhou-16 crew members have a division of responsibilities, they are each other's backup and will complete every task and operation together.

© Provided by Xinhua

Both born in 1986, Zhu and Gui are members of China's third batch of astronauts. Jing has an age gap of 20 years with the other two. He said this cross-generation space team respects, learns from, encourages, and supports each other, noting that they run together on the same starting line for a shared dream.

"After more than one year's training together, we have tacit cooperation, understanding each other's every expression, move and look," said the commander.

The Shenzhou-16 crew will bring paintings by children from 10 African countries to the space station.

Jing said that exploring the vast universe is the common cause of all humanity and a shared dream of the whole society, regardless of race and age.

"We are willing to join hands with all peace-loving people to draw a better blueprint together. This time, we are honored to bring our children's best youth, friendship, and dreams into space. We should sow the seeds of science, friendship, and dreams on China's space station and let them take root and blossom," said Jing.

The Shenzhou-16 commander sent the crew's best wishes to the children, wishing them to look up at the starry sky, dare to dream, and make their dreams come true.

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