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Jing Haipeng, first Chinese astronaut returning to space

Xinhua/cpcchina.org

Jing Haipeng, first Chinese astronaut returning to space

This undated photo shows Jing Haipeng, 46, one of the three taikonauts who will be carried by the Shenzhou-9 spaceship for China's first manned space docking mission with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space lab module. Jing was among the six trainees for the Shenzhou-6 mission in 2005, and also one of the three taikonauts who were carried by the Shenzhou-7 spaceship for China's third manned space mission in 2008. [Photo/Xinhua]

Jing Haipeng (born October 24, 1966) is a Chinese pilot and astronaut selected as part of the Shenzhou program. A fighter pilot in the People's Liberation Army Air Force, he was selected to be an astronaut for the China National Space Administration (CNSA) in 1998. He is the first Chinese astronaut to have flown on two missions: Shenzhou-VII and Shenzhou-IX.

Jing was one of the six trainees for the Shenzhou-VI mission.

Jing, along with Liu Boming and Zhai Zhigang were selected for the prime crew on Shenzhou-VII on September 17, 2008. On September 25, 2008, they launched into space as the first three-man crew for China aboard China's third human spaceflight mission.

Jing was selected as commander of Shenzhou-IX, becoming the first repeat traveller of the Chinese program. He commanded the first manned mission to dock with the first Chinese space station, Tiangong-1, and with the first female astronaut, Liu Yang. The third member of his crew was Liu Wang. The mission was launched on June 16, 2012, returning to Earth on June 29.

The following is a profile about him released by the official news agency Xinhua.

JIUQUAN, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Among the three-member team for the upcoming Shenzhou-IX manned space mission, Jing Haipeng is an experienced astronaut and meticulous tutor.

Jing, the 46-year-old commanding officer of the Shenzhou-IX mission, will work with China's first female astronaut Liu Yang and another male colleague Liu Wang to firstly attempt to manually dock Shenzhou-9 spaceship with the target orbiter Tiangong-1.

Liu Yang said Jing would often give her brief quizzes in the midst of training sessions, or even outside training facilities. She said he would help her solve problems in a step-by-step fashion.

The veteran astronaut caught the nation's attention in September 2008. He was enlisted as one of three crew members for the Shenzhou-7 mission, during which his fellow astronaut Zhai Zhigang completed China's first space walk.

Jing was honored the "Heroic Astronaut" after the Shenzhou-7 mission, after which he was called to go through a new round of training.

Time has done little to diminish his enthusiasm for space endeavors. During a press conference on Friday, the astronaut said he felt just as excited for the upcoming mission as he did when he was chosen for the Shenzhou-6 mission candidates in 2005.

"What accompanies the excitement is more of a sense of challenge, responsibility and trust," he said at the press conference.

A native of Shanxi province in north China, Jing started to show an interest in aviation in 1984, when he registered for an aviation exam but failed to be recruited due to "physical reasons."

In 1985, he was enrolled at a People's Liberation Army aviation school in Hebei province. Upon graduation, he was relocated to a training base in Jiangsu province. Before being enlisted as an astronaut candidate, he had clocked 1,200 hours of safe flight time.

He was selected to be one of the first group of Chinese astronauts in January 1998, and was among six candidates trained in 2005 for the Shenzhou-6 mission.

Jing has been described by his colleagues as being hardworking and calm. He is known for his calm manner in dealing with emergencies.

At leisure time, Jing is an avid basketball player. He is married and has a 15-year-old son.

Commenting on his upcoming trip to the space, Jing said he would make up for some things he failed to do on his previous space trip.

"This time, I'll have plenty of time to capture the greatness of the landmass and oceans on our planet," he said. "There was not enough time for us to record video during the Shenzhou-7 trip."