15 October 2017
New criteria for astronaut selection in China could close the gap between ordinary people and space. As already announced beginning of June at the Global Space Exploration Conference GLEX2017, China will select a third batch of astronauts this year. It will give priority to engineering, with preference to flight engineers and load experts with Masters degrees or above. The standards for being an astronaut for the third batch is much lower than before in terms of both identity and physical condition, indicating that more ordinary people could have the opportunity to get selected.

13 October 2017
The Central Military Commission held a ceremony to honor the military unit of astronauts on 13 October. An order signed by President Xi Jinping, also CMC Chairman, was read at the ceremony, and a certificate of honor was presented to the unit.

10 October 2017
The China-based FAST, the world's largest single-dish radio telescope, has identified two pulsars after one year of trial operation, the National Astronomical Observatories of China (NAOC) said on 10 October 2017. Two of the pulsars, named J1859-01 and J1931-01, are 16,000 light years and 4,100 light years from Earth with rotation periods of 1.83 seconds and 0.59 seconds, respectively. According to Li Di, Chief Scientist at the radio astronomy division of the NAOC, the two pulsars were discovered on 22 August and 25 August when FAST was drift-scanning the southern galactic plane. The discovery was confirmed in September by the Parkes radio telescope in Australia.

close-up photos of FAST's technical hardware

04 October 2017
Professor Marian Scott, OBE, FRSE, and Vice-President (International) of the Royal Society of Edinburgh has been part of the science delegation to China which was led by Jocelyn Bell Burnell. The Scottish scientists met with presidents and other influential individuals from leading national academies and related bodies in China and visited several research institute. Professor Scott wrote about the visit: "From our conversations with them and others, it is apparent that the Chinese see many areas where collaboration and partnerships would be beneficial, for example in space science, big data, renewable energy, robotics, sustainable cities, cultural heritage, plant genetics and food security and medical science."

09 September 2017
China launched Venezuela's remote sensing satellite, VRSS-2, into a preset orbit from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert at 12:13 local time on 09 September. The VRSS-2 was the third satellite to be jointly launched by China and Venezuela. It will be primarily used by Venezuela for land resource inspection, environmental protection, disaster monitoring and management, crop yield estimation and city planning.

more details on NASASpaceflight.com

03 October 2017
A dozen silkworms whose parents took a spin around the planet have been donated to a Hong Kong secondary school. Last October, six of the insects were taken on-board the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, China’s sixth manned space mission and its longest to date, which saw two astronauts, Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong, spend 30 days orbiting in the Tiangong-2 space laboratory. On 2 October, the astronauts donated the descendants of these “space silkworms” to the school, who will study them to see if the favourable variation will be inherited.