China’s first-ever female astronaut to be launched into space, Liu Yang, will be visiting Namibia from 19 to 23 August.
She will be accompanied by Chen Dong, another Chinese astronaut who spent 33 days in space in 2016.
On 16 June 2012, Liu, as one of the crew of Shenzhou-9, travelled to the Chinese space station Tiangong-1, becoming the first female Chinese astronaut to go into space. On 17 October 2016, Chen lifted off with Shenzhou-11 for a 33-day space mission to the Tiangong-2 space station as his first spaceflight. The crew landed successfully on 18 November 2016, marking China's longest manned space flight to date.
The visit aims to respond to the kind invitation extended by President Hage Geingob, which enhances communication and cooperation between China and Namibia. During his state visit to China last year, Geingob visited the China Space Centre, interacted with a couple of Chinese astronauts and invited them to visit Namibia someday.
Upon arriving in Namibia, the delegation will pay a courtesy call to Geingob, meet local middle school learners at the Space TT&C Station and communicate with students face-to-face at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) to talk mainly about astronautics.
In 2010, the first Chinese astronaut, Yang Liwei, visited Namibia. This will thus be the second visit of Chinese astronauts to Namibia, highlighting the special relationship between the two countries. China and Namibia have good cooperation in the field of aerospace, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. China's aerospace development cannot be separated from Namibia’s support.