Beijing, 25 November 2021 (TDI): China will confer medals on three astronauts of the Shenzhou-12 spaceflight mission for their service to the space program of China. Chinese astronauts are known as taikonauts.
A taikonaut is A person who travels in space for the Chinese space program. Earlier this month also, China made history when Wang Yaping became the first Chinese woman to spacewalk.
The announcement to bestow medals was jointly made by the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the State Council, and the Central Military Commission of China. The three taikonauts who will receive the honor are Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming, and Tang Hongbo.
Nie Haisheng was the commander of the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft. He will be awarded the first-class aerospace achievement medal. He is the first Chinese astronaut to stay in the orbit for 100 days. Nie has a doctoral degree and is one of China’s most experienced astronauts.
Before joining China’s space program, he served in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force. He has performed three manned spaceflights. He has served twice as a commander and was part of the Shenzhou-6 mission in 2005 and the Shenzhou-10 mission in 2013.
Liu Boming will be awarded a second-class aerospace achievement medal. He conducted extra-vehicular activities, twice during the Shenzhou-12 mission. Prior to that, he was also part of the Shenzhou-7 mission. Liu Boming served with the PLA Air Force, as well.
Tang Hongbo will be awarded a third-class medal and the honorary title of Heroic Astronaut. The Shenzhou-12 mission was his first mission. He also belongs to PLA. Previously, he was selected as a backup crew member for Shenzhou-11.
The three were sent into space, to enter the core module Tianhe space station of China, in June, this year. They undertook extravehicular activities twice, during their 90 days in orbit. Thus, establishing a new record for the longest space stay in a single flight for Chinese astronauts. The trio returned back to Earth safely, in September.