by Staff Writers
Jiuquan, China (XNA) Sep 23, 2008
China's third manned space mission Shenzhou-7 finished its last rehearsal before blast-off. Now the crew, who will conduct the first Chinese space walk, is waiting for a launch window at a remote rocket base.
Monday's rehearsal involved scientists from all branches of the space project including the carrier rocket and landing venue.
After three hours of tests and safety examinations in the rehearsal, the mission has been given the green light.
Depending on weather, the launch is scheduled between Sept. 25 and 30 at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwestern Gansu Province.
According to a report by China Central Television, six astronauts participated the rehearsal.
Three pilots and three substitutes said they were fully confident to successfully accomplish the mission.
A new satellite tracking ship will monitor the space shuttle's progress. The Yuangwang-6 set sail on April 12.
Its sister ship, Yuanwang-5, which was put into use a year ago, will also monitor and control the Shenzhou-7 mission.
The final Yuanwang ship arrived at its destination on Monday, said Jian Shilong, director with the China Maritime Tracking and Control Department.
The ships will remotely track and support the Shenzhou VII space shuttle which will blast off in late September.
Four ships are on the Pacific ocean and one is on the Atlantic.
"In previous missions including the Shenzhou V and Shenzhou VI missions, only four tracking ships were deployed," Jian said. "We added one more to the Shenzhou VII mission to monitor the taikonaut's extra-vehicular activities."
Jian said the tracking ships will monitor the entire space walk and also keep tabs on the depressurization of the orbital module when taikonauts leave and re-enter the spaceship.
The Yuanwang ships can control the shuttle's solar panels, its orbit maneuvers and maintenance.
In all, China boasts a fleet of six Yuanwang space tracking ships which have carried out 68 expeditions and traveled more than1.4 million sea miles in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
The tracking ships constitute China's space telemetry network together with some 20 terrestrial surveying stations.
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com
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