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  China recruits seven new taikonauts (2010)

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Author Topic:   China recruits seven new taikonauts (2010)
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 09-17-2009 08:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua news service
China finishes preliminary selection of new astronauts, one third women

The preliminary selection for candidates of China's second-batch of astronauts has finished, with candidates including 30 men and 15 women who are all air force pilots, authorities said Thursday.

Among them, five men and two women would be final candidates to join the space program.

It was the first time women had been up for selection in China's space development cause, authorities said.

The 45 candidates, with an average age of 30, would undergo another round of tests, including physiological and psychological checks, an air force official said.

He said the male candidates were fighter plane pilots and the female candidates were aero-transport pilots. All serve in the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force and at least held college degrees.

Many of them had conducted important flight missions such as rescue tasks for the massive Wenchuan earthquake on May 12, 2008 in southwestern Sichuan Province, and various military drills.

The authorities said they "all master excellent flight skills and boast great psychological quality."

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 03-17-2010 05:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Xinhua news service
China's first two women astronauts selected

China has selected its second batch of astronauts, including five men and two women, the first time women have joined the country's space mission.

The two women astronauts, both aero-transport pilots from the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force, might take part in manned docking of China's future space lab, said Zhang Jianqi, former deputy commander of the country's manned space program.

"In the selection, we had almost the same requirements on women candidates as those for men, but the only difference was that they must be married, as we believe married women would be more physically and psychologically mature," Zhang said on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.

He said women astronauts theoretically enjoy advantages over their male counterparts in terms of endurance and circumspection.

China selected its first batch of 14 astronauts in the middle 1990s. It has sent six astronauts into space since 2003, including astronaut Zhai Zhigang who carried out China's first outer space walk in September 2008.

China plans to launch an unmanned space module in 2011, which is regarded as an essential step toward building a space station.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-07-2011 12:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
collectSPACE
Names of China's secret spacemen – and women – 'uncovered' by collectible

Could a collectible have just outed the names of China's second group of astronauts?

That is the conclusion reached by two international space observers, who found an offer for a postmarked envelope – or "philatelic cover," as collectors refer to it – signed by seven Chinese pilots. The group included two women, one of whom may soon become China's first female astronaut, or "taikonaut," to reach space.

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 12-07-2011 04:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I wonder what the news is.

I have already published a similar cover, including a transcript of the names, in my newsletter "Eilinformationsdienst Weltraum Philatelie" as early as 31 October 2011.

The names were equally included in the 5 October 2011 print of my Taikonaut address lists.

The cover had been provided by German space dealer Florian Noller, and it already included a transcript of the names which are listed as follows:

  • Cai Xu Zhe
  • Chen Dong
  • Liu Yang
  • Tang Hong Bo
  • Wang Ya Ping
  • Yi Guang Fu
  • Zhang Lu
It's nice to see our information confirmed by British researchers.

spaceflori
Member

Posts: 1376
From: Germany
Registered: May 2000

posted 12-07-2011 04:24 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaceflori   Click Here to Email spaceflori     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I may add that these covers are circulating for quite some time now within Europe among collectors here - there didn't seem to be a secret with the names, only photos haven't been released yet.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-07-2011 04:34 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Regardless of when and where these covers surfaced, China has yet to officially name any of the members of its 2010 taikonaut class.

As such, the covers' existence alone could be seen as an error on the part of the Chinese space program (i.e. if they intended to keep the names a secret, they did not do a very good job at it).

If nothing else, the fact that these covers were in circulation and no one offering or owning them thought to make the connection with the names not having been released is a good example of why collectors should be mindful of the memorabilia and the history it represents.

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 12-07-2011 05:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We are not staring at any state's authorities to officially "release" names of any of its employees. When we have the information, we just simply publish it. And you could of course have produced your online story based on this information that was first published.

The Chinese are not the only ones, by the way, to not release certain personal information. You'll find that with certain NASA astronauts leaving the agency, NASA chooses not to make any public fuss about it should the departing astronaut wish so. If we then learn - by checking the appropriate JSC website - that an astronaut has gone, we simply carry the news, and no big fuss made about it, right?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-07-2011 05:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Had someone who received your newsletter or Taikonaut address list brought the names to my attention, I might very well have reported the news earlier.

In this case, Tony did so and as a result, the larger space community (outside of philatelic and autograph collectors) has a chance to read about it (the article does not only appear on collectSPACE, but also Space.com, Yahoo! News and on other news sites).

(And speaking only for this site, when an astronaut leaves NASA, we run a front page notice of the departure [titled as such, "Departure"] regardless if NASA issues a press release or not.)

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 12-08-2011 05:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As a publisher, you do the research. If you miss out an "important" source, you better start again. You do not wait until someone is by chance carrying things to your doorstep. As an editor, you check and verify the information brought to you by sources. You don't just blindly "print" it. Professional standards.

You now know that your phrase "as uncovered via the envelope by researchers Tony Quine and Igor Lissov." is factually wrong. Just correct your message, and mention the first published source you are now aware of.

Thank you.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-08-2011 08:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If your newsletter includes an article about the unreleased names of the 2010 Chinese astronaut team being leaked by a philatelic cover, then please forward me that article and I will amend ours.

If you transcribed and published the names without recognizing they had not yet been released, then what our article describes is still factually true. While the names may have appeared elsewhere earlier, Quine and Lissov were the first to recognize the significance of the leak.

Tonyq
Member

Posts: 150
From: UK
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 12-08-2011 10:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tonyq   Click Here to Email Tonyq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I had not intended to get involved in this thread, but the latest posting by Jürgen (eurospace) infers that myself, Igor and/or Robert have, in some way, done something wrong, and I am not prepared to let that go unchallenged. Indeed I will simply state my case and allow others to make their own judgement on how the various parties here are conducting themselves.

I found the copy of the postal cover on Spaceflori.com on 5th December, through a routine Google search, using search parameters I had used many times before. This was the first time the item had appeared.

I instantly recognised, as a keen observer of the Chinese programme, that this was a very significant find. I shared it with Igor Lissov by e-mail as I knew he had access to Chinese speakers, and I also contacted Florian at Spaceflori to make him aware of my interest (whilst making it clear I did not wish to buy the item).

Igor was equally enthusiastic and we decided to put together a media release, in both English and Russian, explaining the significance of the item, adding a few photographs from our own collections and something of the back story to our wider research over several years. This is the basis of the story which Robert published yesterday.

We did not know, until our release was complete and ready to publish, that there was a different version of the same cover in Jürgen's newsletter, where the text merely transcribes the names but does not reflect any degree of recognition of the significance of the item. As Robert has already said, it appears that none of the recipients of the newsletter over the last two months had recognised this either.

I do not see any reason why Robert should change the way the matter was reported yesterday, or change the credit given to the various parties involved.

Whilst it seems that an opportunity to publicise and celebrate the discovery two months ago was missed by Jürgen, that that is not a basis to re-write history today.

Finally, I do not want to fall out with anyone - we are all here for broadly the same reasons – to share and understand, information, of any sort, about spaceflight, and it is in no-one's interest to allow petty disputes to get in the way of that. I hope that this will be permitted to be the final word on the matter.

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 12-10-2011 04:06 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We also noted that there is newsworthy information on the cover - that is why we published the names. We just didn't tout our horn that loudly claiming that we made a discovery that will change the course of history.

Of course it doesn't: in China as in Russia, cosmonaut/taikonaut candidates are not considered newsworthy. They become cosmonauts, newsworthy and celebrities the moment they - guess what - undertake a spaceflight. Not a minute earlier. Half of them wash out of the programme in due course anyway, never to be heard again except by some space geeks. If you fly, you are news. If you don't, forget about it.

Florian's Chinese sources even typewrote the names straight under the autographs on the cover. I assume your contacts in China equally co-operated willingly. Which immediately leads to the conclusion that there is no big secret to be uncovered, and certainly no military secret where the breach of secrecy might entail sanctions. It is just a type of information that Chinese do not care much about.

The fact that we are suddenly facing "secrets coming out" also has to do that most Western reports are relying on English speaking information, and probably online information only. Who of the space media in the USA has a permanent correspondent in Beijing, speaking Chinese fluently? Just because the West turns a blind eye and at times has flying something into these eyes, does not mean a big secret was uncovered. If a "slightly above average" Chinese collector with foreign contacts can "uncover" state secrets in a minute, then it probably has never been a state secret in the first place.

Tonyq
Member

Posts: 150
From: UK
Registered: Jul 2004

posted 12-10-2011 03:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tonyq   Click Here to Email Tonyq     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As I said previously, I will allow others to pass judgement on the above, and all that has gone before.

eurospace
Member

Posts: 2275
From: Brussels, Belgium
Registered: Dec 2000

posted 12-20-2011 09:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by eurospace:
I have already published a similar cover, including a transcript of the names, in my newsletter "Eilinformationsdienst Weltraum Philatelie" as early as 31 October 2011.
Here is a scan of the front page of the newsletter and a clipping of the news item and the cover attached.

All times are CT (US)

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