Pakistan to send its 1st astronaut to space by 2022, says country’s tech minister

Pakistan’s technology minister has confirmed that the country will be sending its first astronaut to space within the next three years, with the assistance of China.

In an interview Sunday, Minister Fawad Chaudhry said that the selection process will begin in 2020 as Pakistan and its partner China commence preparations to launch Pakistan’s first manned mission to space by 2022.

An initial shortlist of 50 candidates will be prepared and whittled down to the lucky one. While the Pakistani Air Force has been tipped to play a key role in the selection process, the minister did not state the extent of its involvement nor did he mention a target launch date.

Pakistan launched two satellites last year onboard Chinese Long March rockets from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert, so the two countries have some history of cooperation when it comes to space exploration.

Meanwhile, Chaudry has been trolling neighboring India over its failed moon landing in recent days. The Indian space program lost contact with its moon lander moments before it was due to touch down on the lunar surface.

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