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China will make history and send a civilian into space for the first time

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China will make history and send a civilian into space for the first time
China will make history and send a civilian into space for the first time
Khushbu Kumari

Aeronautics professor and payload expert Gui Haichao will be part of the Shenzhou 16 crew that will take off next Tuesday to the Tiangong space station.

China will send a civilian astronaut into space for the first time on Tuesday as part of a mission to the Tiangong space station, the country's Human Space Agency announced.

“Payload expert Gui Haichao is a professor of aeronautics and astronautics at Peking University,“ Lin Xiqiang, a spokesman for the space agency, told reporters on Monday.

Until now, all Chinese astronauts sent into space have been members of the People's Liberation Army.

Gui will be “the main responsible for the on-orbit operation of experimental space science payloads”, noted Lin.

The Shenzhou-16 spacecraft will lift off aboard a Long March2F rocket from the Jiuguan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China at 09:31 a.m. (0131 GMT) on Tuesday, the agency said.

Under President Xi Jinping, China has intensified the pursuit of its “space dream.”.

The world's second-largest economy has poured millions into its military-controlled space program, hoping to send humans to the moon.

Beijing is looking to catch up with the United States and Russia after years of lagging behind.

In addition to a space station, China plans to build a base on the moon, and the country's National Space Administration says it aims to launch a manned lunar mission by 2029.

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