China will select the third batch of astronauts this year for its manned space exploration plan. The new astronauts will include not only pilots, but also maintenance engineers, according to a spokesperson for the China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO).


Currently, the periodical development of payloads related to the station’s application system has been finished. Furthermore, the production of a manned spacecraft and a cargo spacecraft is ongoing in accordance with the plans.


The year 2018 is crucial for China’s manned space exploration plans. This year, the assembling of the space cabin will be completed, and large-scale joint ground experiments will be carried out.


China always attaches importance to international communication and cooperation in manned space exploration. This year, the CMSEO will cooperate with the United Nations for Outer Space Affairs to offer opportunities on the usage of the Chinese space station, and with the European Space Agency on module development and with other countries on the lunar probe.


China initiated their own manned space program in 1992.