Yang Liwei, deputy director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office and the first Chinese astronaut in space, announced on January 5 that the selection of the new generation of astronauts will begin in the next few months. Individuals from Chinese research institutions will be eligible to apply.
"We plan to select suitable candidates from space industry companies, research entities and universities and train them into engineers and payload specialists capable of working on the space station," Yang said during an open day at Beijing's Astronaut Center of China.
He pointed out that those who want to apply for an engineer's post will need at least a master's degree, while candidates for payload specialists will be required to hold a doctoral degree. Both are expected to have at least three years of work experience.
"The space station we are going to build is, in fact, a state-level space experimental platform that will serve researchers in their experiments and serve our economy, society and the whole humanity," Yang said, according to GB Times.
China is developing and building parts of a manned space station, aiming to start assembling it in space in 2020, which will require at least four manned missions to carry astronauts into space. The facility, designed to last at least 10 years, is scheduled to become fully operational around 2022.