|PROJECT 921-I (MANNED SPACECRAFT)
Date:2016-01-08 Source:internet By:Globalmil Viewed:
Following China’s unsuccessful attempt of manned spaceflight in the 1970s, the manned space programme resurfaced in the late 1980s under Project 863, a long-term initiative to transform China’s science and technology in fields such as space research, material science and genetic engineering. Concept studies were conducted on a number of projects, including a Russian-style ballistic capsule manned spacecraft and a more ambitious reusable space shuttle, both of which aimed to put first Chinese astronaut in space by 2000.
Some design proposals in the early stage of the Chinese manned space programme. (From left to right) (1) H-1 Space Aircraft by the 601 Aircraft Institute. The aircraft uses cascaded turbojet engines to achieve the take-off and landing from a normal airport; (2) V-2 rocket aircraft by 11 Space Institute in Beijing. The aircraft has two stages both of which are based on the rocket engines; (3) The ChangCheng-1 (Great Wall-1) space shuttle designed by Eighth Space Academy, with independent propulsion system for the space vehicle; (4) The TianJiao-1 space shuttle designed by the First Space Academy. This is a scaled down version of the U.S. space vehicle and is similar to the European Helms space shuttle proposal; (5) The CZ-2E booster and ballistic capsule manned spacecraft proposal designed by the Fifth Space Academy.
In January 1992, a special meeting was held in Beijing to hear the opinions of China’s top scientists on the possibility of a manned space programme. Different design proposals were also presented during the meeting. It was concluded that such a programme was both possible and necessary to boost the country’s confidence and technological capabilities. The modest proposal of using the existing CZ-2E booster to send a ballistic capsule manned spacecraft into orbit was chosen instead of the more ambitious space shuttle design, which requires much more sophisticated technologies.
The ChangCheng-1 (Great Wall-1) space shuttle design proposal by the Eighth Space Academy (now Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, SAST). The system Is based on the existing CZ family booster with a reusable orbit vehicle, which cab fly on its own engines.
A special team consisting China’s top aerospace scientists was formed in early 1992 to study the manned space programme. In August 1992, the team delivered its report which described the three steps in developing China’s manned spaceflight technology. The first step aimed to develop a manned spacecraft and its supporting systems, and to put China’s first astronaut in space and then return safely. The second stage was to grasp the space docking technology, which would finally lead to a temporarily man-tended “Space Laboratory”. In the third stage, China would a 20-tonne class permanent space station.
On 21 September 1992, the Chinese leadership finally gave the go-ahead for the National Manned Space Programme, codenamed Project 921. The first phase of the project (Project 921-I) was given four main goals: (1) To grasp the manned spaceflight technology; (2) To conduct space observation to the earth other scientific research; (3) To develop a space-earth transportation vehicle; (4) To obtain experience for future permanent space station.
News photo by the Chinese state media in the 1980s showing Chinese astronaut trainees in a simulator cockpit similar to the U.S. space shuttle.
The initial target of Project 921-I was to launch two unmanned versions of the spacecraft, followed by the first manned spaceflight in 2002. The programme entered full scale development in 1993. The first Chinese manned spacecraft is a three-module, three-seat design similar to the Russian Soyuz-TM. The major difference is that the orbital module of the Chinese spacecraft is larger and capable of autonomous flight after the conclusion of the mission, while the orbital module of the Soyuz-TM has to be burned out after being separated from the re-entry capsule. Additionally the Project 921 spacecraft can support three astronauts to stay in space for seven days compared to five days service life of the Soyuz-TM.
(Left) Russian Soyuz-TM spacecraft and (Right) Chinese ShenZhou spacecraft. It can be seen that the orbital module of ShenZhou is larger than that of the Soyuz-TM, with its own solar panels for autonomous flight after being separated from the re-entry module.
It was well speculated that the Chinese manned spacecraft design had benefited from the Russian technology and experience, though it is unlikely that China used any parts directly copied from the Soyuz-TM or built under license. In September 1994, Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre in Russia, and a deal was signed in March 1995 for two Chinese military pilots—Wu Jie and Li Qinglong—to train alongside the Russians. Later in 1998 they returned to China and to join a team of 12 astronaut candidates selected from over 800 air force fighter pilots.
一般很好地推测中国有人操纵太空船设计已经从俄国的技术和经验中获益，虽然它不太可能中国从Soyuz-TM采用了任何的零配件直接地仿造或在许可之下制造。在1994年9月，中国江泽民主席访问了俄罗斯尤里·加加林（Yuri Gagarin）宇航员培训中心，而且商定在1995年3月安排二名中国飞行员—李金龙（Wu Jie）和吴杰（Li Qinglong）—在俄国共同训练。在1998年稍后他们回到中国加入12名宇航员候选人，这是从超过800名空军战斗机驾驶员中被挑选的。
Details of Project 921 began to surface in 1998. A sixteen month overhaul of China's YuanWang space tracking fleet was completed in Shanghai in January 1999, with the fourth ship joining the fleet in July. Other associated projects including the building of the Beijing Space Command and Control Centre and a brand new launch site at Jiuquan Space Launch Centre, as well as the development of the CZ-2F space launch vehicle were all nearly completed. In mid 1999 an Internet source photo revealed a CZ-2F launch vehicle carrying the first unmanned spacecraft prototype was ready for launch at Jiuquan.
On 19 November 1999, the first unmanned prototype of China’s Project 921 spacecraft, named ShenZhou, was launched into space from Jiuquan. The re-entry capsule returned to the scheduled landing site in Inner Mongolia successfully after 14 orbits of the earth in 21 hours and 11 minutes. China launched another three unmanned spacecraft ShenZhou-2, -3, and –4 between January 2001 and December 2002.
The first successful manned flight took place on 15 October 2003, when ShenZhou-5 carrying China’s first astronaut Yang Liwei was successfully launched from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre. After travelling 21 hours and 23 minutes on the earth orbit, the spaceship landed in Inner Mongolia safely, making China the first country in more than 30 years to join the United States and Russia in the exclusive club of manned mission launchers.
The last launch Project 921-I, ShenZhou-6, was carried out between 11 and 17 October 2005. The spacecraft carrying two astronauts Commander Fei Junlong and Operator Nie Haisheng circled around the earth for 76 times in five days. For the first time the astronauts were able to take off their heavy spacesuits and enter the orbital module to carry our scientific experiments. The astronauts returned to the earth safely in the early morning on 17 October. The ShenZhou-6 mission was described as a perfect finale for Project 921-I, as well as a solid basis on which the second phase of China’s manned space programme Project 921-II can be carried out.
921-I最后发射计划，神舟-6，被在2005年10月11日至17日进行。太空船运送二名宇航员指挥官费俊龙（Fei Junlong）和操作员聂海胜（Nie Haisheng）在五天中围绕地球运转76圈。第一次宇航员能够离开他们沉重的太空服并且进入轨道模块（轨道舱）进行科学实验。宇航员在10月17日早晨安全地返回到地球。神舟-6任务描述为921-I计划的一个完整的结局，并且第二个阶段的中国有人操纵空间计划921-II计划能够在一个坚实的基础之上进行。
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