Why does China require that its astronauts be married?

Bachelors and bachelorettes need not apply to China's space program: If you want to ride in a Chinese rocket, you need to be hitched.

Chinese taikonaut Zhai Zhigang walks out of the orbit module of the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft for his Sept. 27, 2008, spacewalk. Earlier this year, Chinese space officials said that their astronauts must be married to qualify for the Chinese space program.

Probably seen as America’s biggest space rival, China has recently emerged as a major space power after conducting their first space walk in 2008 (not to mention launching a lunar satellite around the Moon).

With future plans of launching a space station and sending Taikonauts (aka Chinese astronauts) to the Moon, China is going to need a lot of space pioneers–provided they are hitched to a spouse.

(Space.com) Earlier this year, Chinese space officials said that one requirement for China’s first female astronauts was that they were married, a requirement that is also upheld for China’s male astronaut candidates.

Excluding the single masses from participating in the final frontier may sound like an odd rule, especially when you consider the fact that there are numerous single males in China on the prowl (which is of itself a major issue).

However by requiring Taikonauts to be married, China could be planning on moving families off world in the not so distant future (a strategy that may help them establish a permanent presence on both the Moon and Mars).

Note: To my knowledge neither NASA or Russia require their astronauts and cosmonauts to marry, respectively, although the Chinese are insisting that married astronauts are better than bachelors (at least psychologically).

Darnell Clayton blogs at Colony Worlds

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