By Gao Chao, Qi Chuang, Wang Xueyan and Zhou Yundong
BEIJING, Nov. 20 — China’s second-generation space-tracking ship Yuanwang-3 went out to sea to perform satellite maritime tracking and controlling tasks on the morning of November 19, and will provide critical tracking and controlling support for the Chang’e-5 lunar probe to be launched in late November.
The China Satellite Maritime Tracking and Controlling Department has four space-tracking ships, including Yuanwang-3, Yuanwang-5, Yuanwang-6 and Yuanwang-7. Except for the Yuanwang-7, which is undergoing repair and renovation, the other three ships have gone to the ocean. The Yuanwang fleet has entered the fast track before the end of the year.
Meanwhile, the onshore staffs also spared no effort to provide support to the ships on mission, taking good care of both the sea-going crew and their families. The land-sea communication staffs strengthened shore-to-ship communication support to ensure the smooth flow of telephones and networks.
It is learnt that this year, the Yuanwang fleet has performed multiple tracking and controlling tasks for the launches of last networked satellite of the BeiDou-3 system and China’s first Mars probe, as well as the transport missions for the Long March-5B and the Long March-5 Y5 carrier rockets. The Yuanwang fleet has accumulated more than 900 days of maritime operations this year and sailed 150,000 nautical miles. The frequency of missions and the number of days out on the sea have set a record for the same period in history.