Beijing, March 3: Chi will include civilians into the third group of taikouts to serve its planned space station project, the country’s first astrout Yang Liwei said here on Saturday.
The new taikouts could be selected from industrial sectors, research institutions and universities, said Yang, deputy director of the Chi Manned Space Engineering Office, on the sidelines of the first session of the 13th tiol Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
Currently, taikouts — a blend of the Chinese word taikong which means outer space and astrout — are all former Air Force pilots, Xinhua news agency reported.
Chi selected its first group of 14 taikouts in the late 1990s and the second group of seven in 2010. Of them, 11 had been sent to space in six spaceflights.
The new taikouts will include not only pilots, but also maintence engineers and payload specialists for the space station project. To build and operate its space station, Chi plans to increase manned space missions from once in every one to three years to at least twice a year, which require more taikouts, said Yang. (IANS)