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Beijing to recruit astronauts in Hong Kong

2022-10-02 HKT 21:12
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  • The government has assigned the deputy financial secretary, Michael Wong, (middle), as its point person to lead the recruitment process here. Photo: RTHK
    The government has assigned the deputy financial secretary, Michael Wong, (middle), as its point person to lead the recruitment process here. Photo: RTHK
Mainland authorities will, for the first time, be recruiting astronauts for its manned space programme in Hong Kong.

The China Manned Space Agency has started its recruitment process for up to 14 astronauts, including seven to eight pilots, a few engineers and about two payload specialists, reported Xinhua News Agency.

And the agency will be looking for potential recruits in Hong Kong and Macau for the payload specialist positions, who are mainly responsible for scientific experiments, research and tests during a space mission.

Chief Executive John Lee described this as an "historic present", adding that it symbolises the country's confidence in Hong Kong's research capabilities and its care for the development of Hong Kong youth.

"The selection of researchers by the China Manned Space Agency this time has given Hong Kong people a chance to realise their dreams of going to space and contribute to the country, " said Lee in a statement, "the SAR government will definitely do its best to assist in the selection process."

At a press conference on Sunday night, officials said a preliminary round of selection will take place here in Hong Kong, with an application period running from October 6 to October 27, before further shortlisting by mainland authorities.

"Hong Kong has been doing very well in its development of basic research in recent years, many academics and experts have been recognised by the nation and even the international community," said the deputy financial secretary, Michael Wong, who has been assigned as the point person to coordinate the recruitment and relevant promotion.

He also pointed out that local universities had provided much support for the nation's space missions in the past and the recruitment here shows how much it values the science and technology sector in Hong Kong.

The government said it will be considering applications filed through it departments, the 11 universities here, as well as government research facilities, the Productivity Council, research firms at Cyberport and the Science Park, and the Hospital Authority.

It added that applicants will have to fulfil academic, age, height and physical health requirements.