China Announces 1st Astronauts from Hong Kong & Macao

By Billy Jiang, June 12, 2024

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In a historic milestone, Hong Kong and Macao's very first astronauts have been selected to join China's space program. 

This momentous announcement, confirmed by China's space agency on Tuesday, June 11, has sparked excitement and pride across both regions.

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu hailed the selection as a "glorious" moment, underscoring the city's burgeoning status in science and technology. 

Among the 10 chosen astronauts, one hails from Hong Kong and one from Macao, while the rest are from the Chinese mainland. 

These new recruits will soon commence rigorous training at the China Astronaut Research and Training Centre.

Even though the identities of the chosen astronauts remain a secret, South China Morning Post earlier reported that the Hong Kong candidate is a female chief inspector with a doctorate, previously working in a secret technical services division. 

In October 2022, Beijing's space agency extended astronaut recruitment to Hong Kong and Macao for the first time, seeking two payload specialists. 

The process attracted 120 applications from Hong Kong alone, from which 40 candidates were forwarded for final selection. 

Notably, this selection comes amidst other recent announcements regarding China's ambitious plans for space exploration. 

Beijing has poured billions into its military-run space programme, with goals including a manned lunar landing by 2030, and the establishment of a lunar base. 

READ MORE: China Plans Crewed Mission to the Moon 'Before 2030'

Recent achievements include the launch of a probe to the far side of the Moon, and the construction of the Tiangong space station.

The decision to include candidates from Hong Kong and Macao reflects a broader strategy to integrate the special administrative regions into national projects, highlighting their potential contributions to China's scientific and technological advancements. 

As Hong Kong and Macao celebrate this groundbreaking inclusion, the message is clear: the sky is no longer the limit for these regions' scientific aspirations. 

However, there is one last note for all the hopeful spacewalkers in Hong Kong and Macao: all astronauts joining China's space program must be members of the party or go through the process of joining the party.

With Hong Kong and Macao's first astronauts soon to embark on this extraordinary journey, we will keep you updated on the latest developments. 

For more exciting news in the Greater Bay Area, follow our WeChat official account, ThatsGBA.

[Cover image via Xinhua]

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