China Will Host a Congress of International Astronauts and Cosmonauts

China Will Host a Congress of International Astronauts and Cosmonauts

September 6, 2014 • 8:35PM

For the first time, China will host the annual international Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers. The 396 members of the Association are astronauts and cosmonauts, from 35 nations, who have flown in space, which is the requirement for membership. The Congress, from Sept. 10-15, has the theme: “Cooperation: To Realize Humanity’s Space Dream Together.” Space travelers from 17 nations are expected to attend, including 30 from the U.S. The active U.S. astronauts come representing themselves, not NASA, as there is a Congressional prohibition against manned space cooperation with China.

China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei, will present an invitation to the interational guests to join with China in its future space station, according to veteran space reporter, Leonard David. He reports that Chinese astronauts at the Congress will present reports from their previous flights, and outline China’s future space station plans. Chinese officials stated this Summer that the schedule for the 60-ton multi-module manned station has been accelerated, and that the first module is expected to be launched two years earlier than previously announced, in 2018. Two more will follow in 2020 and 2022. Gu Yidong, an official in the manned space program, said that the first date is a “preliminary goal,” which could change.

China has repeatedly emphasized that its space station will be open to participation by all nations.

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