BEIJING, July 20 (Xinhua) -- Ye Guangfu made his first public appearance on Wednesday, just after completing an underground training mission deep in an Italian cave.
Taikonaut -- the Chinese equivalent of astronaut or cosmonaut -- Ye, 36, is the first of China's five male second-generation astronauts to meet the press.
Ye and five other prospective astronauts from Japan, Russia, Spain and the United States spent six nights in Sardinian caves from July 1 to 7, simulating a mission to another planet, during the European Space Agency (ESA) underground training course CAVES (Cooperative Adventure for Valuing and Exercising human behavior and performance Skills.)
The mission focused on multi-cultural approaches to leadership, following orders, teamwork and decision-making, according to the ESA.
"The cave is isolated from the outside world and is dark, damp and cold. We six were responsible for completing daily tasks such as climbing, exploration and surveying; really arduous but worthwhile training," Ye said as he addressed the media in Beijing.
The team went further than previous CAVES course, mapping their progress and taking samples of the environment and life they found. They also tested new techniques for making accurate 3D models of objects and the environment using standard cameras - a technique that could be used in exploring other planets.
Ye was selected to join the second batch of Chinese astronauts in 2010. The second batch include five men and two women, Liu Yang and Wang Yaping. Liu was China's first woman in space when she flew on the Shenzhou-9 spacecraft in 2012, followed by Wang, who gave a lecture to students on Earth from space in 2013 on the Shenzhou-10 mission.
China's first batch of astronauts had 14 members including Yang Liwei, China's first man in space in 2003.