A long tradition of being used on two previous occasions then?
China's Shenzhou VII spacecraft blasted off today at 13:10 GMT from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu Province atop a Long-March II-F rocket. The mission marks the communist state's third manned space jaunt, and the first to include a spacewalk - if all goes according to plan. The Shenzou VII launch. Pic: …
I had thought that the Chinese did have an official term of their own, even in English, for their astronauts, but it wasn't 'Taikonaut', which has only been unofficially advocated by some Chinese individuals. However, according to Wikipedia, their own terms, yuhangyuan and hangtianyuan are only used in Chinese, and in English, they just use 'astronaut'. My Google search also turned up the use of 'taikonaut' in a recent Xinhua report, so this seems to have changed.
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They are safe tomorrow as well and will appear 12 seconds ahead of schedule to the tracking ships...
Nice forward thinking going on in the Chinese space program :-)
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