China’s human spaceflight agency has begun the search for a new batch of astronauts to join its ranks as the country moves to complete its orbiting space station.
The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced on Sunday (Oct. 2) that it will select 12 to 14 candidates to join its pool of astronauts for future spaceflight missions.
CMSA said that it will seek seven to eight pilots along with five or six spaceflight engineers. Up to two of the latter group will be payload specialists.
The pilots will be selected from the People's Liberation Army. Civilians from China’s space-related sectors can apply to be spaceflight engineers.
The new astronaut selection round is open to candidates from Hong Kong and Macao for the first time.
Those selected will form China's fourth generation of astronauts. Their recruitment follows the selection of 18 astronauts in 2020, who have been undergoing training and could soon be available for selection for missions.
The new selection comes as China moves into the final stages of construction of its Tiangong space station.