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Tracking Fleet Continues Rehearsal

one of four ships making up China's fleeting of tracking ships
by Wei Long
Tokyo - Feb 20, 2002
China's fleet of four space tracking vessels continued their rehearsal for the next Shenzhou launch despite ongoing delays with what will be the third test launch of China's future manned spacecraft. Report of the exercise activities appeared in the People's Liberation Army Daily Feb 10.

The Yuanwang fleet (Yuanwang means "Long View") continued to rehearse up until days before the arrival of the Lunar New Year of the Horse a week ago. PLA Daily reported that the fleet successfully completed testings of several domestically developed systems in recent days, and the tracking vessels were ready to perform space mission tracking tasks.

In order to meet the requirement of increasing tracking and commanding capabilities at sea, in the past few years the fleet has focused on networking research to support tracking and commanding, navigation, power, and equipment protection.

One of the systems that the fleet has developed is the navigation command system network, which is equipped with an advanced electronic ocean map system.

The system displays realtime navigation conditions of the tracking vessels, thus solving the difficulties of exchanging realtime information between the vessels and the base of the tracking fleet and the command centre.

Another key development is the three oceans meteorological safeguard network simulation training system. The new system changes the training model of meteorological protection from the previous self-protection of an individual vessel to joint protection of multiple vessels.

As the nationwide celebration of the Lunar New Year is nearing an end, launch preparation activities of Shenzhou-3 may resume shortly. It is not clear what impact, if any, the long hiatus of the Shenzhou test flight will have on other launches that China has planned to carry out this year.

A month ago Director of Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST, formerly known as the Shanghai Bureau of Astronautics) Yuan Jie said that 2002 would be the busiest year in the history of the Chinese space program with 10 launchers planned before year end.

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Young Helmsmen At Shenzhou Mission Control
Beijing - Jan 29, 2002
Signs of launch preparations for Shenzhou-3 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center (JSLC) continue to emerge with mission controllers at the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center (BACCC) said to be working around the clock to get ready to track the unmanned test flight.

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