Astronautical Engineers?

Astronautical Engineers?

Reported by the China Daily, engineers could be in for a chance to become one of China’s future astronauts, when China starts to recruit and train the third generation next year. Huang Weifen, deputy research head of theAstronaut Center of China said that he wants to broaden the scope and knowledge of the next generation by not only selecting pilots from the Chinese Air Force, but also engineers from the space industry.

The successful month long mission that returned to Earth last Friday has encouraged Chinese officials involved in the Space program that it is not only flight skills that are essential during a mission. This is similar to the practice of American and Russian space agencies who send astronauts from various different fields into Space, including scientists, engineers, doctors and pilots. Using various different crew members will be useful for China when it launches its planned manned space station in 2022, which is planned to stay on orbit for around 10 years.

Allowing each crew member to bring a different skill to the mission increases the chances of success, but also provides a broader selection of expertise should something go wrong – an important factor to consider when you are on a mission with virtually no external assistance, other than that of your team. Engineers would also be able to bring their knowledge of 3D printing to the table, which is able to produce parts required for repair, without adding to the takeoff weight of the craft, leading to a reduction in cost and a useful safety net should a part fail with no physical replacement held on board.

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Author: Fymicohuang