50th in space

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHENG YINGQI chengy­ingqi@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Jing Haipeng, com­man­der of the Shen­zhou XI space mis­sion, cel­e­brated his 50th birth­day aboard the Tian­gong II space lab­o­ra­tory on Mon­day.

Jing Haipeng, com­man­der of the Shen­zhou XI space mis­sion, cel­e­brated his 50th birth­day aboard Tian­gong II on Mon­day, break­ing yet an­other record.

He is al­ready the Chi­nese as­tro­naut with the most hours spent in space and the only one to have taken part in three mis­sions.

Turn­ing 50 years old means he is also the na­tion’s old­est as­tro­naut in ser­vice.

Or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­di­vid­u­als sent birth­day greet­ings to Jing via Sina Weibo.

“Be­cause of him, we no longer have to ad­mire Swedish (ta­ble ten­nis) player JanOve Waldner, US boxer Evan­der Holy­field or ten­nis great Martina Navratilova. Be­cause of him, we no longer sigh over a lack of Chi­nese he­roes,” read a post on the ac­count of the Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army Navy.

Some ne­ti­zens asked ques­tions about the pos­si­bil­ity of send­ing a cake into space or light­ing can­dles.

“The best way to serve the coun­try, as an as­tro­naut, is to take on more mis­sions; to use our own hands to im­ple­ment the wis­dom, ideas and con­cept of sci­en­tists; to bring back use­ful data; and to con­duct sci­en­tific ex­per­i­ments that will ben­e­fit mankind,” Jing was quoted as

The best way to serve the coun­try, as an as­tro­naut, is to take on more mis­sions.” Jing Haipeng, com­man­der of the Shen­zhou XI space mis­sion

say­ing by the Peo­ple’s Daily web­site.

Xin­hua News Agency asked chil­dren to sub­mit paint­ings via the in­ter­net as a gift for the as­tro­naut.

Jing, to­gether with his col­league, Chen Dong, were launched into space on­board Shen­zhou XI on Oct 17 and docked with the Tian­gong II space lab­o­ra­tory on Oct 19.

Jing joined the PLA in 1985 and trained as a pi­lot be­fore be­ing se­lected for China’s as­tro­naut pro­gram in 1998.

The cur­rent mis­sion is Jing’s third in space. Pre­vi­ously, he spent 68 hours aboard Shen­zhou VII in 2008 and 13 days on Shen­zhou IX in 2012.

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