Credit: © Simon Zajc. 41,949 bytes. 530 x 421 pixels.
Latest on Shenzhou - Chinese Manned Spacecraft:
Additional details of the spacecraft design have become available thanks to examination of a Chinese Astronautical Technology Research Group 1/40 scale model of the spacecraft by Steven S. Pietrobon. Meanwhile Space Daily reported in June that the second unmanned flight of the Shenzhou spacecraft would take place a year after the first, in October 2000. The first manned flight was expected in 2001. The second Shenzhou would save 100 kg in mass using a new wire harness mounting technique. Training of the Chinese astronauts ("Yuhangyuan") was also reported to be proceeding with commissioning of a unique form of zero gravity trainer. The 15 m in diameter and 21 m high chamber was part of a vertical wind tunnel, using speeds of up to 150 km/hour to levitate the Yuhangyuan trainees.
|Shenzhou 2 in Orbit|
Credit: Steven S. Pietrobon. 20,705 bytes. 341 x 335 pixels.
Propulsion system consisting of:
- Four large expansion ratio main engines at the base of the spacecraft
- High thrust pitch and yaw thrusters arranged in four pairs on the inside of the flared based of the service module.
- Low thrust pitch and yaw thrusters arranged in four pairs on the outside of the flared base. These can also, when used together, provide reverse thrust.
- Four pairs of roll / translation thrusters mounted at the spacecraft centre of gravity, just below the re-entry capsule. These are not placed at ninety degrees but two pairs to each side of the spacecraft, allowing use for translation in the vertical axis only.
- Four groups of four thrusters mounted at the base of the orbital module. These may provide a backup to the main orientation system as well as autonomous attitude control and manoeuvring capability to the orbital module when in free flight. Used in conjunction with the canted low thrust pitch and yaw thrusters at the base they could provide translation in both horizontal and vertical planes.
|Shenzhou Model - View of a 1/40 scale module of Shenzhou at the Chinese Astronautical Technology Research Group. Excluding the triangular sections, the lower solar panels of the service module measure 2.0 m x 7.5 m. Those of the orbital module are 2.0 m x 3.4 m. This indicates that the complete spacecraft can generate three times more power than Soyuz, providing an average of over 1.5 kW of electricity. In autonomous flight the orbital module would generate over 0.5 kW average.|
Credit: Steven S. Pietrobon. 39,332 bytes. 546 x 306 pixels.
|Shenzhou Model Fwd - Forward view of Shenzhou model. Notice the unique configuration of the instrument pallet at the forward end; the arrangement of the reaction control thrusters at the base of the orbital module, which allow autonomous orientation and possibly manoeuvre of the module in orbit; and the rectangular package mounted opposite the entry hatch. The service module measures 2.2 m diameter x 2.8 m long. The complex equipment arranged at the top of the module is 0.95 m x 1.3 m and 0.8 m long. The semi-circular ring has a 1.1 m inner diameter and seems to provide mounting for rectangular instruments or processing samples around its exterior. The three perpendicular 0.4 m extendible probes are of uncertain purpose. They may be instrument booms; a part of the orientation system; or part of a docking system. Extendible booms were explored by the United States as a docking device for the Apollo spacecraft. It was expected that Shenzhou would have a Russian-style androgynous docking system at the forward end of the orbital module. It may be that the current model instead provides an external instrument pallet for experiments, which could be replaced on eventual station ferry missions with a docking system.|
Credit: Steven S. Pietrobon. 39,631 bytes. 430 x 510 pixels.
Solar panels with a total area of over 40 square metres, indicating average electrical power available is over 1.5 kW (three times that of Soyuz and greater than that of the original Mir base module).
|Shenzhou Model Bot'm - View of the 'bottom' of the Shenzhou model. Noteworthy, from left to right: probable orientation instruments (horizon, ion flow and/or stellar/sun sensors) at the middle of the service module; the robust pylons supporting the moveable solar panels; the thruster groups at the centre of gravity of the spacecraft, below the re-entry capsule, which would be used for rolling the spacecraft and for horizontal / vertical translation manoeuvres; the blue patch on the re-entry module (meaning unclear); the four groups of four thrusters at the base of the orbital module, which would provide auxiliary propulsion for the spacecraft and autonomous propulsion for the orbital module after separation; the white patch on the orbital module, indicating the entry hatch location; the forward porthole in the orbital module. The re-entry capsule is 2.4 m in diameter at the base, and, 2.0 m long (excluding the heat shield). This compares to 2.17 m diameter x 1.90 m for the Soyuz capsule.|
Credit: Steven S. Pietrobon. 37,634 bytes. 622 x 512 pixels.
|Shenzhou Model Aft - Unique view of the aft end of Shenzhou. The main propulsion system consists of four large expansion ratio main engines. Four groups of two large pitch / yaw thrusters are spaced around the inside of the flared service module skirt, with complementary groups of smaller thrusters mounted on the exterior of the skirt. The radiator loops of the service module wind around the module seven times (the same number as the early Soyuz 7K-OK design). The service module is 2.8 m in diameter at the flared base, 2.5 m in diameter over the radiator section, 2.4 m in diameter at the top, and 3.05 m in length (excluding the engines). This compares to 2.72 m base diameter, 2.15 m centre diameter, and 2.60 m length for the Soyuz.|
Credit: Steven S. Pietrobon. 32,321 bytes. 412 x 385 pixels.
|Shenzhou Model Left - View of the left side of Shenzhou. The re-entry capsule has the same aerodynamic surfaces on the upper part of the capsule, and the same cylindrical housing at the bottom as Soyuz. The capsule clearly took advantage of thirty years of Russian experience and refinement of the Soyuz capsule aerodynamic design. The purpose of the tan probe next to the rectangular housing at the top of the orbital module is not known. The arrangement of instruments arranged in an arc in the semicircular pallet mounted on the front of the orbital module is quite mysterious.|
Credit: Steven S. Pietrobon. 38,197 bytes. 609 x 286 pixels.
Following re-entry, the drogue chute deployed at an altitude of 30 km with the capsules soft-landing rockets firing 1.5 m above the ground. The capsule landed at 41 deg N, 105 deg E, (415 km East of its launch pad and 110 km north-west of Wuhai, Inner Mongolia), at 3:41 a.m. Beijing time on November 21 (November 20 19:41 UT). The spacecraft had completed 14 orbits of the earth 21 hours and 11 minutes.
|Shenzhou Model Right - View of the right side of Shenzhou. The meaning of the second blue patch on the re-entry capsule is unknown. The entry hatch at the top of the orbital module can be seen, and the extendible probes mounted 90 degrees to one another at the forward end of the orbital module.|
Credit: Steven S. Pietrobon. 22,300 bytes. 599 x 186 pixels.
The orbital module is cylindrical, larger than the previously thought, with a mysterious equipment pallet in place of the expected docking unit at the forward end. It is jettisoned before retro-fire and return to earth. It is equipped with its own solar panels and propulsion and demonstrated autonomous flight after being separated from Shenzhou. For unknown reasons the solar panels were not deployed on the first mission. A large EVA hatch is located in the lower portion of the module, with a large porthole above that, very unlike Soyuz. A rectangular equipment package is mounted on the opposite side of the orbital module. It is expected that at a later phase of the project the module will be left attached to the 921-2 space station module, providing additional space and an airlock on the station.
|Shenzhou Model Top V - View of the top side of Shenzhou. Note the large rectangular external package on the orbital module and the three extendible probes mounted at the forward end of the orbital module.|
Credit: Steven S. Pietrobon. 32,377 bytes. 604 x 332 pixels.
|Shenzhou in orbit - Shenzhou as it would appear in orbit.|
Credit: © Simon Zajc. 31,335 bytes. 588 x 343 pixels.
|Shenzhou re-entry - Separation of re-entry capsule from service module prior to re-entry. This is the best available picture of the Shenzhou manned spacecraft. From a Chinese animation of the first mission.|
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|Shenzhou Capsule - Photo of Shenzhou capsule at landing site. This reveals it to be the same size and shape as the Russian Soyuz capsule.|
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|Shenzhou Cockpit - View of cockpit of Shenzhou cockpit transmitted to the ground during the flight. The instruments have a Soyuz-like layout but represent more modern looking aircraft instrumentation.|
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|Shenzhou Orbital Mod - Shenzhou orbital module in the shop. Note the fixed solar panels, the large lateral hatch and window, and the forward docking collar. This is much larger than the Russian Soyuz module and it may be intended that they be left behind at the 921-2 space station, forming additional modules.|
Credit: Via Simon Zajc. 17,855 bytes. 427 x 282 pixels.
|Shenzhou - Frame from Chinese animation of Shenzhou in flight. The orbital module is separating prior to the retrofire maneuver.|
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The module's payload included a dummy astronaut, national flags, the flag of the Macao Special Administrative region, a banner with all the signatures of the scientists and engineers who participated in construction of the spacecraft, commemorative stamps and some experimental seeds.
|Shenzhou - 2 View of Shenzhou spacecraft.|
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The Chinese perfected ballistic re-entry vehicle techniques very early in their space program with the FSW series of photo-reconnaissance satellites. The FSW was first successfully launched in 1976 (the first attempt, in 1974 was a launch failure; the second, in 1975, crashed to earth when the parachute failed). The spacecraft had an overall mass sufficient for a simple manned capsule (2500 kg), but the re-entry vehicle itself was a bit too small for a human occupant. In 1978 photos were released showing Chinese astronauts in impressive space suits being trained in altitude chambers and at the controls of an elaborate space shuttle-like cockpit. A fleet of ships for recovery of manned capsules at sea was built and in May, 1980, the first capsule was recovered from the South Pacific after a sub-orbital launch. But then, suddenly, in December, 1980, Wang Zhuanshan, the Secretary General of the New China Space Research Society and Chief Engineer of the Space Centre of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, announced that Chinese manned flight was being postponed because of its cost.
|Shenzhou - Shenzhou, name of first Chinese manned spacecraft, as named by President Zemin.|
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|Shenzhou retrofire - Chinese animation of Shenzhou retrofire. The orbital module has already been jettisoned.|
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|Shenzhou recovery - Jettison of drogue chute.|
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|Shenzhou recovery - Drogue shoot deployment.|
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|Shenzhou recovery - Main chute deployment.|
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In June 1999, coincident with public announcements that first unmanned test of the spacecraft would be made in October, photographs of the CZ-2F launcher with the Soyuz-style shroud appeared mysteriously on the Internet. They were said to be scanned from a brochure of a an Inner-Mongolian construction company that had worked on the launch facilities. The shroud was consistent in shape and size with that portrayed in the 1992 drawing of the cancelled launch vehicle. It shows many similarities with Russian Soyuz shrouds, but comparison with photos of Soyuz shrouds to the same scale shows it to be much larger.
|Shenzhou recovery - Main chute deployment.|
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|Peking Control Cente - New Beijing Aerospace Directing and Controlling Center during first flight of Shenzhou. Note positioning of tracking ships in southern hemisphere. Retrofire over East Africa would lead to recovery in Inner Mongolia.|
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The experiments being flown originated from Mr. Qin Yi of the Oriental Scientific Instruments I&E Group. The project was administered at Star City by Mr. Yuri L. Bogoroditsky, Chief of Foreign Economic Development, Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre.
|Shenzhou - In-orbit view of Shenzhou spacecraft|
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Credit: © Simon Zajc. 36,855 bytes. 751 x 573 pixels.
A preliminary estimate of the dimensions and mass breakdown of the Shenzhou, in comparison with the Soyuz, would be as follows:
Soyuz Shenzhou Complete Spacecraft: Total Mass-kg 7,250 7,600 Length-m 7.48 8.65 Diameter-m 2.72 2.80 Span-m 10.06 19.40 Service Module Total Mass- kg 2,950 3,000 -of which, propellant,kg 900 1,000 Length-m 2.60 3.05 Diameter-m 2.17 2.50 Diameter base-m 2.72 2.80 Re-entry Vehicle Total Mass-kg 3,000 3,100 Length-m 1.90 2.00 Diameter-m 2.17 2.50 Orbital Module Total Mass-kg 1,300 1,500 Length-m 2.98 3.20 Diameter-m 2.26 2.20
|CZ-2F Shroud - Close-up of CZ-2F shroud during first mission.|
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Craft.Crew Size: 3. Total Length: 8.7 m. Maximum Diameter: 2.8 m. Total Habitable Volume: 8.00 m3. Total Mass: 7,600 kg. Electric system: 1.60 total average kW. Electrical System: Solar panels, 2 x 7. 5x2 m + 2 x 3.4x2 m; 43 sq m.
|CZ-2F - CZ-2F installed on launch pad.|
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The Chinese leadership decided that an independent manned space program could be afforded. The Chinese National Manned Space Program was given the designation Project 921. The 921-1 manned capsule entered full scale development in 1993 and the 921-2 space station in 1999. Only preliminary work was authorised on the 921-3 reusable spaceplane.
|CZ-2F Liftoff - Liftoff of first CZ-2F.|
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The 921-1 manned capsule entered full scale development in 1993 and the 921-2 space station in 1999.
|Chinese spacesuit - Chinese spacesuit in test, October 1999|
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|CZ-2F Rollout Big|
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Following re-entry, the drogue chute deployed at an altitude of 30 km with the capsules soft-landing rockets firing 1.5 m above the ground. The capsule landed at 41 deg N, 105 deg E, (415 km East of its launch pad and 110 km north-west of Wuhai, Inner Mongolia), at November 20 19:41 UT. The spacecraft had completed 14 orbits of the earth 21 hours and 11 minutes.
|CZ-2F on pad Full|
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|Detail of 921 Shroud|
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Credit: © Simon Zajc. 49,022 bytes. 497 x 461 pixels.
|921 Spacecraft - Earlier conjectural drawing of Project 921 first Chinese manned spacecraft, based on description of its layout and overall mass.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 20,000 bytes. 400 x 400 pixels.
|Chinese Manned LVs - Chinese Launch Vehicles for Manned Projects. From left: Tsien Spaceplane Launcher, 1978; Project 921 Launch Vehicle, 1992; CZ-2F, 1999; CZ-2E(A), 2000. Only the last two were put into full scale development.|
Credit: © Mark Wade. 21,771 bytes. 360 x 480 pixels.