Macau, China, 10 Dec – A group of local businesspeople and the Macau Foundation (FM) contributed 12 million patacas and 5 million patacas, respectively,Tuesday to support China’s space efforts.
Zhang Jianqi, deputy chief comander of the central government’s manned space missions and head of the visiting Shenzhou 7 delegation receive the 17 million patacas (US$ 2.1 million) contributions during a show held in Macau.
The three astronauts who completed China’s first spacewalk mission – Zhai Zhigang, Jin Haipeng and Liu Boming – were the show stars.
The Shenzhen 7 delegation visited the Ruins of St Paul’s landmark as well as the Museum of Macau, the Macau Tower and the Mount Fortress Tuesday before a “dialogue meeting” with 2.000 students from 40 local schools.
The astronauts, also known as taikonauts in China, and other members of the Shenzhou 7 manned space mission returned today to Mainland China after a three-day official visit o Macau.
Zhang Jianqi said last week in Beijing that scientists from Macau and Hong Kong can compete to be astronauts.
“China’s manned space project will start setting up space laboratories and stations after 2012, and by that time scientists will be needed for a large number of experiments in space,” said Zhang Jianqi.
Zhang also said that China will select future astronauts from the ranks of scientists rather than military pilots from People’s Liberation Army.
China plans to launch the Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 missions before 2012.
The three missions are expected to solve the problem of spacecraft rendezvous and docking and prepare for the establishment of space labs.