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China’s human spaceflight program may soon be opening the door to foreign astronauts. The Asian nation has so far been forging ahead with a small space station and its own flights, independent of the multinational collaboration taking place with the International Space Station, although it has done work with Russia and France.
Last week, however, a Chinese official said the country is considering bringing foreign astronauts on board its spacecraft and also providing training for them.
“We would like to train astronauts from other countries and organizations that have such a demand, and we would be glad to provide trips to foreign astronauts,” said Yang Liwei, deputy director of China Manned Space Agency, in a report from China Daily.
“We will also welcome foreign astronauts who have received our training to work in our future space station.”
Yang’s remarks came at the United Nations/China Workshop on Human Space Technology. The director also pointed out that European astronauts have visited the Chinese facilities, and vice versa, which could point the way forward to more work between the nations.
China’s most recent spaceflight took place in June. Shenzhou 10 docked with a small space station in orbit (Tiangong-1.) The country is reportedly planning a larger space station in the coming years and possibly, some manned lunar missions.