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Newcomers prepare to dive

Updated: 2013-12-11 07:19
( China Daily)

China introduced six oceanaut trainees on Tuesday for its deep-sea explorations, including the first two females.

The group will be trained to pilot and work aboard Jiaolong, the country's deep-sea manned submersible, by 2016, the State Oceanic Administration said.

The two female trainees are Zhang Yi and Zhao Shengya.

And the four men are Liu Xiaohui, Qi Haibin, Yang Yifan and Chen Yunsai.

"After a two-year training program starting now, the six will become trained oceanauts like the country's currently trained oceanauts Fu Wentao and Tang Jialing who took part in a 7,000-meter diving project in 2012," State Oceanic Administration spokesman Shi Qingfeng said at a news conference on Tuesday.

The age of the six new trainees ranges from 23 to 28, and they will join future deep-sea projects after successfully completing the two-year training program.

Liu Feng, director of the National Deep Sea Center, said the training will cover physical and mental exercises, studies of submersible maintenance, repairs and operation, and related sciences such as mechanics, telecommunications and engineering.

"We are also discussing with the China Astronaut Research and Training Center allowing the six trainees to have lessons with Chinese astronauts," Liu said.

"After the training program, the country's eight oceanauts will make up a team for Jiaolong's maintenance and operation. Each will have his or her specialty.

"The rapid development of the nation's deep-sea exploration means the country's oceanaut team will expand further in the near future," Liu said.

- Wang Qian

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