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    China Says Will Train Foreign Astronauts for Space Station

    China Says Will Train Foreign Astronauts for Space Station

    says it will soon begin training foreign astronauts for trips to its newly completed orbiting space station.

    Long a source of national pride and symbol of technological advancement, the Chinese space program is taking on a new diplomatic and political role, much in the way the United States and former Soviet Union leveraged theirs.

    Multiple countries have asked for rides to the Tiangong station, program official Chen Shanguang said in an interview with state broadcaster CCTV that aired Saturday.

    “We will soon begin to select candidates from those for flights to our space station, and they will be able to work with our astronauts to carry out scientific tasks in space,” Chen, deputy chief planner of China's manned space programs, said in the interview that was republished late Monday by the official China Daily newspaper.

    Candidates will undergo an initial selection process before being brought to China for intensive training on how to operate China's Shenzhou spaceships and live and work aboard the station, Chen said.

    “We also hope that the foreign candidates can gain some knowledge about Chinese culture because they will be onboard a Chinese space station,” he said.

    Chen did not say whether proficiency in Chinese would be required, although experts interviewed by China Daily said they expected China's national tongue to be the working language aboard the station.

    China completed…

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