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China has chosen a new class of 18 astronauts, another step along its methodical path to explore space in the coming decades.

Why it matters: The nation has plans to build a new space station in orbit and eventually send people to the Moon, making some in the U.S. concerned about the geopolitical implications of China's space ambitions.

Details: China's new astronauts include 17 men and one woman, according to an announcement released last week by the China Manned Space Agency.

  • Those astronauts — called taikonauts in China — comprise seven spaceflight engineers, four payload specialists and seven pilots.
  • China has not yet released information about the new astronauts or about the missions they may eventually be assigned.
  • A total of about 2,500 candidates were considered for the prestigious positions.

Between the lines: The group of 18 new astronauts will likely be culturally diverse in some way, says Heritage Foundation's Dean Cheng.

  • "It wouldn't surprise me, actually, if you had a Tibetan or a Muslim — not necessarily a Uighur, but someone who is Muslim — to basically bring home the idea that we are all one big, happy, multiethnic society," Cheng told me.

Go deeper

Jan 5, 2021 - Health

WHO leader "disappointed" after China delays approval of COVID origin investigation

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a July 3 press conference in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/pool/AFP via Getty Images

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus admonished China on Tuesday for delaying authorization that would allow groups of scientists from other countries to investigate the origins of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan.

Why it matters: We still don't know how the pandemic began.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
25 mins ago - Economy & Business

The Leon Black clock strikes midnight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leon Black is "retiring" as CEO of Apollo Global Management, the alternative investment giant he has led since co-founding it in 1990. But he is not making a full break, as Black will remain chair of Apollo's board of directors.

Why it matters: This is the culmination of 18 months of head-in-the-sand obfuscation of Black's dealings with Jeffrey Epstein.

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.

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