China's first astronaut, received the first UNESCO Space Science Medal



China's contribution to space expedition has once again been admitted by an international organization.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has on Saturday presented its first edition of Space Science Medals.

Among the four laureates is China's first man sent to space, Yang Liwei.

Yang Liwei onboard the Shenzhou-5 spacecraft /CFP Photo‍

The Medal was established to encourage scientists to "pass their skills and know-how to younger generations," as stated by the organization in the press release.

Yang is now working as the vice director of the China Manned Space Engineering Office, who donated a large portion of his life to space exploration and related education.

Yang is well-known for his speeches in schools across China, which inspired many young Chinese to venture in the same area.

Yang speaks with students in Macao in 2003. /Photo from China National Radio

A lot of these young people, often in their 20s, have become irreplaceable talents in the Chinese space program.

"I thank you all for your courage and commitment," Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova said while presenting the Medals.

She also called the laureates to "reach out to younger generations, to share UNESCO’s message to build peace in the minds of men and women."

Yang was unable to attend the ceremony, and was represented by Yang Shen, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of the People’s Republic of China to UNESCO.

Other laureates include:

– Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez (Cuba), the first person of African heritage and the first Cuban in space;

– Koichi Wakata (Japan), the first Japanese commander of the International Space Station;

– Valentina Tereshkova (Russia), the first woman in space.