Shenzhou program

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Shenzhou program
Chinese
Hanyu Pinyin shénzhōu
Literal meaning divine boat

The Shenzhou program (/ˈʃɛnˈ/,[1] Chinese: ) is a manned spaceflight initiative by China. The program put the first Chinese citizen, Yang Liwei, into orbit on 15 October 2003.[citation needed]

Development began in 1992, under the name of Project 921-1. The Chinese National Manned Space Program was given the designation Project 921 with Project 921-1 as its first significant goal. The plan called for a manned launch in October 1999, prior to the new millennium.[citation needed]

The first four unmanned test flights happened in 1999, 2001, and 2002. These were followed by 2 manned missions. The second one was launched on 12 October 2005. The Shenzhou missions were launched on the Long March 2F from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The command center of the mission is the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center. The China Manned Space Engineering Office provides engineering and administrative support for the manned Shenzhou missions.[2]

The name can be variously translated as "Divine Ark", "Divine Vessel", or the like.[citation needed]

History[edit]

China's first efforts at human spaceflight started in 1968 with a projected launch date of 1973. Although China did launch an unmanned satellite in 1970 and has maintained an active unmanned program since, the manned spaceflight program was cancelled due to lack of funds and political interest.[citation needed]

The current Chinese human spaceflight program was authorized on 1 April 1992 as Project 921-1, with work beginning on 1 January 1993. The initial plan has three phases:[citation needed]

  • Phase 1 would involve launch of two unmanned versions of the manned spacecraft, followed by the first Chinese manned spaceflight, by 2002.
  • Phase 2 would run through 2007, and involve a series of flights to prove the technology, conduct rendezvous and docking operations in orbit, and operate an 8-ton spacelab using the basic spacecraft technology.
  • Phase 3 would involve orbiting of a 20-ton space station in the 2010–2015 period, with crews being shuttled to it using the 8-ton manned spacecraft.

The chief designers include Qi Faren and Wang Yongzhi. The first unmanned flight of the spacecraft was launched on 19 November 1999, after which Project 921-1 was renamed Shenzhou, a name reportedly chosen by Jiang Zemin. A series of three additional unmanned flights ensued. The Shenzhou reentry capsules used to date are 13 percent larger than Soyuz reentry capsules, and it is expected that later craft will be designed to carry a crew of four instead of Soyuz's three, although physical limitations on astronaut size, as experienced with earlier incarnations of Soyuz, will likely apply.[citation needed]

The fifth launch, Shenzhou 5, was the first to carry a human (Yáng Lìwěi) and occurred at 9:00 CST (UTC +8) on 15 October 2003.[citation needed]

Like similar space programs in other nations, Shenzhou has raised some questions about whether China should spend money on launching people into space, arguing that these resources would be better directed elsewhere. Indeed, two earlier human spaceflight programs, one in the mid-1970s and the other in the 1980s, were cancelled because of expense. In response, several justifications have been offered in the Chinese media. One is that the long-term destiny of humanity lies in the exploration of space, and that China should not be left behind. Another is that such a program will catalyze the development of science and technology in China. Finally, it has been argued that the prestige resulting from this capability will increase China's stature in the world, in a similar manner to the 2008 Olympics.[citation needed]

On 17 October 2005, following the success of Shenzhou 6, Chinese media officially stated that the cost of this flight was around US$110 million, and the gross cost of Project 921/1 in the past 11 years was US$2.3 billion. These values are lower than the cost of similar space programs in other nations.[citation needed]

The Chinese media has heavily promoted the experiments undertaken by Shenzhou, particularly exposing seeds, including some from Taiwan, to zero gravity and radiation. Most scientists, however, discount the usefulness of this type of experiment.[citation needed]

The experience during the 1960s of both the United States with the Manned Orbiting Laboratory and the Soviet Union with the Almaz space station suggests that the military usefulness of human spaceflight is quite limited and that practically all military uses of space are much more effectively performed by unmanned satellites. Thus while the Shenzhou orbital module could be used for military reconnaissance, there appears to be no military reason for incorporating such a system in a manned mission, as China could use purely unmanned satellites for these purposes.[citation needed]

Shenzhou spacecraft[edit]

Post S-7 Shenzhou spacecraft diagram

The Shenzhou spacecraft resembles the Russian Soyuz, although it is substantially larger. Unlike the Soyuz, it features a powered orbital module capable of autonomous flight.

Like Soyuz, Shenzhou consists of three modules: a forward orbital module (轨道舱), a reentry capsule (返回舱) in the middle, and an aft service module (推进舱). This division is based on the principle of minimizing the amount of material to be returned to Earth. Anything placed in the orbital or service modules does not require heat shielding, and this greatly increases the space available in the spacecraft without increasing weight as much as it would need to be if those modules needed to withstand reentry.

Missions launched[edit]

Future missions[edit]

Astronauts[edit]

November 1996 trainer selection[edit]

There were two astronaut trainers selected for Project 921. They trained at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center in Russia.

January 1998 astronaut candidate selection[edit]

  1. Chen Quan
  2. Deng Qingming – from Jiangxi Province and PLAAF pilot
  3. Fei Junlong – second Chinese astronaut, commander of Shenzhou 6
  4. Jing Haipeng – born October 1966 and PLAAF pilot, astronaut of Shenzhou 7, Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 11
  5. Liu Boming – born September 1966 and PLAAF pilot, astronaut of Shenzhou 7
  6. Liu Wang – born in Shanxi Province and PLAFF pilot, flew on Shenzhou 9
  7. Nie Haisheng – back up in Shenzhou 5, flight engineer on Shenzhou 6, commander of Shenzhou 10
  8. Pan Zhanchun- PLAAF pilot
  9. Yang Liwei – first man sent into space by the space program of China on Shenzhou 5, made the PRC the third country to independently send people into space
  10. Zhai Zhigang – back up in Shenzhou 5, commander of Shenzhou 7
  11. Zhang Xiaoguang – born in Liaoning Province and PLAAF pilot, flew on Shenzhou 10
  12. Zhao Chuandong – PLAAF pilot

2010 astronaut candidate selection[edit]

  1. Cai Xuzhe
  2. Chen Dong - flew on Shenzhou 11
  3. Liu Yang - first Chinese woman into space, flew on Shenzhou 9
  4. Tang Hongbo
  5. Wang Yaping - second Chinese woman into space, flew on Shenzhou 10
  6. Yi Guangfu
  7. Zhang Hu

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Specific
  1. ^ "Shenzhou pronunciation". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2015-04-25. 
  2. ^ "China's Manned Space Program Takes the Stage at 26th National Space Symposium". The Space Foundation. 2010-04-10. Archived from the original on 2010-04-12. 
  3. ^ Jonathan Amos (18 June 2012). "Shenzhou-9 docks with Tiangong-1". BBC. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Pietrobon, Steven (3 August 2017). "Chinese Launch Manifest". Retrieved 3 August 2017. 
  5. ^ http://spacenews.com/chinese-space-program-insights-emerge-from-national-peoples-congress/
  6. ^ "神舟十二号飞船(SZ-12):对接2018年发射升空的空间站核心舱。 - China Spaceflight". 
General

External links[edit]