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Shenzhou-7 Monitor Satellite Finishes Mission After 100 Days In Space
by Staff Writers
Beijing (XNA) Jan 06, 2009

Picture released by China's manned space project on Oct. 5, 2008 shows the image of China's Shenzhou-7 spaceship, taken by a small monitoring satellite six seconds after it was released from the spaceship on Sept. 27, 2008. Launched about two hours after Chinese astronaut Zhai Zhigang finished the country's first spacewalk, the monitoring satellite has sent back over 1,000 pictures of the spaceship. The shadow on the spaceship was that of the monitoring satellite. (Xinhua Photo)

The accompanying satellite of Shenzhou-7 orbital module has accomplished its preset mission after 100 days in space, the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC) said on Sunday.

This achievement marks China's "preliminary mastery of satellite monitor technology," the center said. Since there are still some extra fuel left, the satellite will continue its flight for more scientific experiments.

After being released on Sept. 26, one day after China's third manned spacecraft was launched, the accompanying satellite was adjusted 13 times through engine ignitions so that it could focus on the orbital module of Shenzhou-7.

The center said the accompanying satellite has being flying around the orbital module in an elliptical circle, with the farthest distance of 7.6 kilometers and the nearest of 3.8 kilometers.

The satellite has sent back thousands of high-quality pictures of the orbital module, which were captured by its two cameras.

According to the center, the three Taikonauts aboard Shenzhou-7-- Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming and Jing Haipeng - have ended their tours across the country, and they will continue their regular training course to prepare for the establishment of China's first space station.

China successfully launched the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft on Sept.25 last year, making it the third country in the world to conduct extravehicular activity (EVA) in space following the former Soviet Union and the United States.

Ship back from mission of tracking Shenzhou VII space flight
The Yuanwang V ship returned to a China port after a 117-day mission of remotely tracking the Shenzhou VII space flight which blast off in late September.

The return signaled the completion of the tracking mission by five ships for support of China's first space walk.

The ships, Yuanwang I,II, III, V and VI, set sail Aug. 18 last year and traversed nearly 100,000 sea miles in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

China successfully launched the Shenzhou VII manned spacecraft on Sept. 25. During the 68-hour flight, taikonaut Zhai Zhigang, wearing a domestically made Feitian space suit, conducted a 20-minute space walk. China became the third nation to conduct a space walk, after Russia and the United States.

The ships monitored the entire space walk and also kept tabs on the depressurization of the orbital module when the taikonaut left and re-entered the spaceship.

They also controlled the shuttle's solar panels, its orbit maneuvers and maintenance.

"In previous missions, including the Shenzhou V and Shenzhou VImissions, only four tracking ships were deployed," said Jian Shilong, director with the China Maritime Tracking and Control Department. "We added one more to the Shenzhou VII mission to monitor the taikonaut's extra-vehicular activities."

In all, China boasts a fleet of six Yuanwang space tracking ships which have carried out some 70 expeditions and traveled more than 1.5 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 station.


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