Addis Ababa, 7 September 2022 (TDI): Three Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts, talked from space with the youth from eight African countries via video link. They shared their experience in the Shenzhou-14 mission.

The taikonauts; Chen Dong, Liu Yang, and Cai Xuzhe, are on a six-month stay in orbit. They shared with the African youth their life and scientific work in the space station.

The main venue of the event, titled “Talk with Taikonauts,” was held at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa. At the same time, students from Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, and South Africa joined the dialogue at sub-venues.

Remarks of the Astronauts

Cai Xuzhe said that they have been “focusing on studying the impact of long-term exposure to zero-gravity on astronauts’ health and corresponding protection measures, looking at astronauts’ behavior and capabilities and delving into the application of traditional medicine in space.”

“And (we) also do experiments on variable gravity science, life and ecology science, biotechnology science, physics of fluids and combustion science,” Cai added.

“These experimental research projects will support astronauts to live a healthy life, work with a high efficiency in the space station, and lay the groundwork for future exploration into deep space,” he explained.

Chen Dong, another taikonaut, said they will “carry out extravehicular activities, on-orbit equipment maintenance, space application experiments, space medical experiments, and on-station lectures, among other tasks.”

Remarks of officials

Yang Jun, Charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Namibia, said China will help train Namibian technicians on space technology and will conduct space research jointly with Namibia.

Last year three Chinese taikonauts on a Shenzhou-12 spaceship carried a Namibian national flag into space, while two taikonauts, Cheng and Liu, visited Namibia in 2019.

“We can see how fruitful China-Namibia space cooperation is,” Yang said, adding that the task of developing space technology rests on the shoulders of the youth in the world.

While, Zhang Tao, Charge d’affaires of the Embassy of China in Egypt, said that the event is not only a cultural exchange activity but also a scientific and technological exchange. It is an experiment between China and Africa.

“Exploring space is a common dream of mankind. Egypt is an important African country and its youth are looking forward to more opportunities to explore the mysteries of space. I think this event will help Egyptian young people to further understand the development of China’s aerospace technology,” Zhang told Xinhua.

“China is willing to continue to work with Egypt to promote China-Africa space cooperation and make new positive contributions to deepen China-Egypt strategic cooperation,” Zhang said.