China will be recruiting astronauts in Hong Kong and Macau, inviting specialists to conduct research and scientific experiments in space.

space mission
Photo: GovHK.

The application period will run from Thursday until October 27 ahead of a shortlisting process by Chinese authorities, according to a Sunday press statement.

Chief Executive John Lee said on Sunday that his government will assist in the selection process: “The selection of researchers by the China Manned Space Agency this time has given Hong Kong people a chance to realise their dreams of going to space and contribute to the country.”

Applicants for the space mission would need to be aged between 30 and 45, and meet certain height and health requirements. The government said that candidates – as well as their family members – must be “patriots” who adhere to the One Country, Two Systems” principle and uphold the Chinese constitution and Basic Law.

Physical and academic attributes for applicants – click to view.

Physical Attributes:

  • Male candidates should be 162-175cm tall; female candidates should be 160-
    175cm tall.
  • Physically fit with no significant allergies, or past medical history or hereditary
    diseases which may affect space missions.
  • Uncorrected visual acuity of at least 0.1 and corrected visual acuity of not less
    than 0.8 in either eye, with no colour blindness.
  • Mentally fit.

Academic Qualifications and Discipline:

  • Doctoral degree holder.
  • Specialises in discipline(s) including biology, medical, psychology, material
    sciences, physics, chemistry, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering,
    electronic engineering or astronomy, etc.
  • At least three years’ professional working experience in the discipline(s).
  • A good command of Chinese and English with fluent Putonghua.

Applicants must also have no criminal record.

Screenings will be taking place at 11 local universities, research and development centres and companies, as well as government departments and the Hospital Authorities.

‘Patriots’ invited

A government spokesperson said that Hong Kong has been nurturing innovation and technology talent: “The recruitment of payload specialists in Hong Kong offers a valuable opportunity for patriotic Hong Kong citizens to contribute to the development of our country and realise their dreams. We appeal to those who meet the basic requirements and are aspired for aerospace career to participate in the recruitment exercise.”

Last September, local students and researchers had a real-time conversation with three Chinese astronauts aboard the Tiangong Space Station.

China space station Tiangong-1 model
A model of the Chinese space station Tiangong-1. File photo: Gary Todd, via Flickr.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Manned Space Programme.

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Tom is the editor-in-chief and founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications and New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Al-Jazeera and others.