Thirty students taking part in the Young Astronaut Training Camp set off for a seven-day trip to Beijing today (August 3) after attending the send-off ceremony at the Hong Kong Space Museum. The training camp is jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, the China Astronaut Research and Training Center and the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, and co-organised by The Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture and the Beijing-Hong Kong Academic Exchange Centre.
Officiating at the send-off ceremony were the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; the Chairman of The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Dr Choi Koon-shum; the Deputy Director (Culture) of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mr Chung Ling-hoi; the Chairman of the Board of Directors, The Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture, Professor Lee Cheuk-fun; and the Vice-President of the Beijing-Hong Kong Academic Exchange Centre, Mr Kwok Ming-wa.
Mr Tsang Tak-sing said at the ceremony that to arouse the interest of the new generation in astronomy and space science and deepen teenagers' understanding of China's space technology, the LCSD and the China Astronaut Research and Training Center had jointly organised for the first time last year the Young Astronaut Training Camp, which was well received by the public.
"All the 30 selected participants have learned an invaluable lesson. They not only acquired basic knowledge of space science and astronomy technology, but also visited the major astronomy institutes in China such as the Mission Control Hall and Xichang Satellite Launch Center, giving them an opportunity to experience the astronauts' tough training and meet Chinese space experts and eminent Chinese astronauts such as Yang Liwei. Through these activities, the participants learned about the dedication, perseverance and indomitable spirit of Chinese astronauts," Mr Tsang said.
The recruitment for this year's Young Astronaut Training Camp started in May and received an overwhelming response from schools. More than 200 students were nominated by about 130 schools. After three rounds of selection which included a quiz, fitness test, communication skills and overall performance assessment, 30 students were selected to be the young astronauts, comprising 20 boys and 10 girls.
The Curator of the Space Museum, Mr Chan Ki-hung, said the standard of the candidates this year was even. They showed fairly good common sense in astronomy and space science, and performed well in the fitness test. Mr Chan said Professor Sun Jinyun of the China Astronaut Research and Training Center was also impressed by the outstanding performance of the candidates.
The Director of The Hong Kong Institute for Promotion of Chinese Culture, Mr Fok Wing-keung, a member of the panel of adjudicators, said that the quality of the candidates this year was higher in general than those of last year. They are open in expressing themselves and articulating their insights about the world around them, he said.
The Chief Officer of the Physical Fitness Association of Hong Kong, China, Mr Wong Wing-sum, who is responsible for evaluating the candidates' physical fitness, said this year's candidates were clearly fitter physically than last year's. He said the earnestness shown by some of the candidates in preparing for the fitness test was highly appreciated.
The Young Astronaut Training Camp will run from August 3 to 9. Participants in the Young Astronaut Training Camp will visit major space facilities in China including the China Academy of Space Technology, the Mission Control Hall, the National Observatory and the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. They will be taught basic space science and technology and undergo astronaut training, including donning and doffing of a spacesuit, space kitchen, psychological training, escape and survival training and blood redistribution adaptability training. After completion of the training, they will take an examination and be presented with certificates.
The Young Astronaut Training Camp is sponsored by The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce.
For details of the training camp, please visit the museum's website at www.hk.space.museum or call 2721 0226.
Ends/Tuesday, August 3, 2010
The Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing (left), and the Chairman of The Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, Dr Choi Koon-shum, witness the oath taking of the 30 young astronauts at the send-off ceremony for the Young Astronaut Training Camp. The young astronauts set off for Beijing today (August 3).
The officiating guests and the 30 young astronauts launch model rockets to mark the start of their trip to the training camp.
Mr Tsang (second right) and Dr Choi (right) send off the 30 young astronauts to Beijing.