The Space Expedition Corporation, a Netherlands-based firm, signed an agreement with a Chinese agency last Friday which made it finally possible for ordinary Chinese travelers be able to go for a trip to space by the end of 2014, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
But as a trendsetter, Chinese pop star Han Geng is always one-step-ahead of the game.
Standing out from a worldwide competition sponsored by Lynx, Han was authorized with the qualification to go for a space trip along with other 23 winners, who were announced on December 7.
With a special title as the ambassador of the space trip, Han becomes one of the first non-professional space travelers in China.
“For me, the most important thing is that I will soon see how magnificent the universe and the Earth look like from space with my own eyes and feel the sense of no gravity and high gravity. That will be my unique experience,” Han told the Global Times.
All in the game
Han first heard about the trip when he worked with Lynx at the beginning of 2013 and soon decided to take part in it.
The 29-year-old pop star no longer needed to harbor his space travel ambitions. “I was so into the mystery of the universe when I was a little boy, so I can’t miss the chance to go as it will fulfill my childhood dream,” said Han.
The first nationwide round was based on a computer game that tested the capability of reaction, which Han proudly said that he was quite good at.
“I ranked No.5 in the game and a total of six competitors with the highest score became candidates in China. An online vote by netizens picked three of us to go to the NASA training camp,” said Han.
The three places for China went to Han, Zhao Xingde, a globe explorer and Ji Xiaohua, also known as Ji Shisan, the founder of guokr.com (a Chinese website focuses on popularization of science). The camp gathered more than 100 finalists from over 60 countries around the world.
As the only pop star attending the competition, Han did not get any priority.
“We lived in a large house and spent all our time together. We were in different groups to finish our tasks, including the exhausting physical training and the tests on zero or super gravity.”
Han said he did not feel any pressure competing with others despite his fame. “It’s a fair competition at the camp. And I feel like I am more likely presenting as a Chinese man. I am so proud to see our national flag on our training suits,” he added.
Actually, his popularity did help Han achieve another chance.
After finishing the training camp, Zhao was selected as one of the 23 winners who got the coveted spot on the trip. Considering Han’s strong fan base worldwide, the Lynx Space Academy gave Han the added opportunity to take on the trip, as a “space trip ambassador,” which made him and Zhao the first non-professional Chinese people traveling to space.
When talking about his role of space trip ambassador, Han said that his experience would not differ from that of the other travelers.
“The ambassador title sounds more likely to be an inspiration to encourage more of the young generations to take part in space aviation,” said Han.
Though the exact date has not been announced, Han shared the process of the entire trip.
The XCOR Aerospace Lynx shuttle will carry the pilot and space travelers, flying for about one hour and spending four minutes at the suborbital. Han said that he would like to take some videos and photos to mark the occasion.
Some Western pop stars such as Lady Gaga and Sarah Brightman have considered performing their concerts in space. But for Han, it is still too early to think about that.
“Maybe after a few years, when journeys into space become accessible to ordinary people, I will consider setting up a concert in space,” he said.
After being voted as the Best Worldwide Act at the MTV European Music Awards in November 2012, Han won the Favorite Asian Act at Nickelodeon’s 2013 Kids’ Choice Awards in March, beating other Asian finalists that included the Korean singer Psy.
“It did surprise me that so many children came to me and called out my name when I received the award in the US,” Han said.
The voted awards showcased Han’s strong fan base to the Western world and made him a rallying point for the Chinese market.
Han was inundated with invitations from across the globe last year.
He sang the Chinese version of the theme song for movie Cloud Atlas in January, joined the crew ofTransformers 4 in July, and starred in a Chinese-French romance Seek McCartney in September.
Han owed his increase in overseas events to his early life of training and working in South Korea. Being selected as a trainee for two years in South Korea, Han became the only Chinese member of Super Junior, one of the most popular Korean boys groups, in 2005. He left the group in 2009 and came back to China to start his own career.
“My early days in South Korea gave me a wider acceptability of different cultures. It made me confident to communicate with others when working overseas, and more well-adapted in other countries,” said Han.
Source: http://globaltimes.cn & Yuehua Entertainment