China advances maritime space monitoring and control capability

China Military Online
Yao Jianing
The picture shows the Chinese space tracking ship Yuanwang-7. ( / Photo by Liu Siliang)

By Chen Guoling and Zou Weirong

BEIJING, June 23 (ChinaMil) -- Chinese space tracking ship Yuanwang-7 set sail on June 9 for another maritime space monitoring and control mission.

Yuanwang-7 has conducted several times of ocean monitoring and control missions for Shenzhou-11, Long March-5 and Tianzhou-1 after it was commissioned. Yuan Wang-7 also set record of tracking the rocket and spacecraft at the same time and used variable heading measurement method.

Wu Jingao, head of Ocean Monitory and Control Service for Satellites of China, said that the new upgrade of space tracking fleet’s scientific research and experimental comprehensive ability marks the leap achieved in China's space tracking control ability.

As an important part of China’s space tracking network, Yuanwang space tracking fleet has been making rapid progress in these years.

Yuanwang-7, entered service on July 12, 2016, is a part of the country's new generation of space tracking ships with better communication and control capabilities, better safety performance and higher degree of information and logistics support.

Yuanwang-5 and Yuanwang-6 have been upgraded in its tracking and control capabilities. The newly-added S and X band equipment have played an important role in China’s lunar exploration tests and projects.

Yuanwang-3 will play its role in follow-up sea monitoring and control tasks as the ship has gone through technical upgrade and been installed new monitoring and control equipment.

"The scientific research and testing capacity of China’s space tracking satellites has been leaping forward," said Wu Jingao, adding that in recent years, Yuanwang space tracking fleet overcame the key tracking technology in blackout area and obtained 63 major scientific research achievements.

The task preparation time of the fleet has been reduced from 30 days to 13 days. The number of mission for one trip has increased from five to seven. And the fleet can now track five difficult targets at the same time.

China's space launch ushered in an unprecedented intensive period in the past five years. Yuanwang fleet has 58 maritime expeditions and completed 50 maritime tracking tasks for Shenzhou, Beidou, Chang'e, Long March-7 and Long March-5.

The fleet has 3,133 days of maritime operations and a safe navigation of 635,000 nautical miles. The number of tasks completed by Yuanwang fleet accounts for nearly one-third of the total tasks of Ocean Monitory and Control Service for Satellites of China since its establishment 42 years ago.

In the second half of this year, Yuanwang fleet is expected to take 16 maritime monitoring and control tasks and 3 rockets and containers transport missions, another historic high for the fleet.

Yuanwang fleet is constantly expanding its scope. They are known as the "floating land of China". In recent years, the fleet has docked at 8 ports in 6 countries for 32 times and has become a business card showcasing China's space exploration capability.

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