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Thirty young astronauts leave for Beijing on Friday for seven days' training (with photos)

     Thirty secondary students taking part in the Young Astronaut Training Camp attended their send-off ceremony at the Hong Kong Space Museum today (July 25). They will set off for Beijing this Friday on a seven-day training trip.

     The training camp is jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, the China Astronaut Research and Training Center and the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center, and co-organised by the Beijing-Hong Kong Academic Exchange Centre.

     Officiating at the send-off ceremony were the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; the Deputy-Director General of the Education, Science and Technology Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Mr Li Lu; the Vice-Chairman of the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Dr Ian Chan; the Vice-President of the Beijing-Hong Kong Academic Exchange Centre, Mr Kwok Ming-wa; and the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung.

     At the ceremony, Mr Tsang said that to stimulate the interest of the new generation in astronomy and space science and deepen teenagers' understanding of China's space technology and culture, the LCSD and the China Astronaut Research and Training Center had, for the fourth year, jointly organised the Young Astronaut Training Camp.

     Mr Tsang said, "The programme has been well received by the public in the past three years. This year, the young astronauts will, for the first time, visit the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu, the main base in China for manned spacecraft. I would also like to express my gratitude to the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce for their generous sponsorship to make this training camp possible again.

     "The development of China's space technology has made great progress in recent years. The Tiangong-1, the model for China's space laboratory, was launched last September, successfully making a rendezvous and docking with the Shenzhou-8 in November. More inspiring was the launch of the Shenzhou-9 carrying three astronauts in June. This time a female astronaut, Liu Yang, was included. They not only successfully conducted the manual docking with the Tiangong-1 but entered the spacecraft for the first time and carried out scientific experiments. It is believed that the space station will be set up in the very near future. In two days, the 30 young astronauts will set off for Beijing for a marvelous space training programme."

     This year's Young Astronaut Training Camp started recruitment in May and received an overwhelming response from schools. A total of 239 students nominated by 145 schools applied for the training camp. After three rounds of selection, which included a quiz on astronomy and space science, a three-day camp to assess the candidates' fitness, and an interview to evaluate their responses, communication skills and language proficiency, 30 students were selected to be young astronauts, comprising 20 girls and 10 boys.

     The Young Astronaut Training Camp will take place from July 27 to August 2. Participants will visit major space facilities including the China Academy of Space Technology, the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center, the National Astronomical Observatories, the Chinese Aviation Museum and the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. They will be taught basic space science and technology and undergo astronaut training, including donning and taking off a spacesuit, use of a space kitchen, psychological training, escape and survival training and blood redistribution adaptability training. After completion of the training, they will take an examination and be presented with certificates.

     For details of the training camp, please visit the webpage on the Hong Kong Space Museum's website at (Chinese only) or call 2721 0226.

Ends/Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Issued at HKT 16:30


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