Shenzhou spacecraft

Shenzhou spacecraft

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Shenzhou spacecraft
Description: Diagram of the post-Shenzhou 7 spacecraft
Country:
Role: Low-earth orbit Manned spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

Crew: Three
Derived from: Soyuz
Status: In-service
First flight: Shenzhou 1
Shenzhou 1
Shenzhou 1 launched on November 19, 1999, was the first unmanned launch of the Shenzhou spacecraft. The spacecraft used was not equipped with a life support system or an emergency escape system. After orbiting the Earth 14 times, the command for retrofire was sent by the Yuanwang 3 tracking ship...

, 1999
Dimensions
Height: 9.25 m 30.34 ft
Diameter: 2.8 m 9.10 ft
Volume: 14.00 m³ 494.4 ft³
Rocket engines
Main Engine (N2O4/MMH) : 10000 N 2248 lbf ea
Performance
Endurance: 20 days
Apogee: 324 km 201 mi
Perigee: 196 km 121.8 mi
Inclination: 42.5 degrees
Delta V: 380 m/s 1,240 ft/s
Modules


Shenzhou is a spacecraft
Spacecraft
A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

 developed and operated by the People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

 to support its manned spaceflight program. The name is variously translated as "Divine Craft," "Divine Vessel of God," "Magic Boat" or similar and is also homophonous with an ancient name for China
Names of China
In China, common names for China include Zhonghua and Zhongguo , while Han and Tang are common names given for the Chinese ethnicity. Other names include Huaxia, Shenzhou and Jiuzhou...

 (written 神州; meaning "Divine Province"). Its design resembles the Russian Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz , Union) is a series of spacecraft initially designed for the Soviet space programme by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s, and still in service today...

, but it is larger in size and all-new in construction. The first launch was on November 19, 1999 and the first manned launch was on October 15, 2003. In March 2005, an asteroid was named 8256 Shenzhou
8256 Shenzhou
8256 Shenzhou is an asteroid named after the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft.-References:*...

 in honor of the spacecraft.

History



China's first efforts at human spaceflight
Human spaceflight
Human spaceflight is spaceflight with humans on the spacecraft. When a spacecraft is manned, it can be piloted directly, as opposed to machine or robotic space probes and remotely-controlled satellites....

 started in 1968 with a projected launch date of 1973. Although China launched an unmanned satellite in 1970 and has maintained an active unmanned program since, this attempt was canceled due to lack of funds and political interest.

The first four unmanned test flights happened in 1999, 2001, and 2002. These were followed by manned launches on October 15, 2003, October 12, 2005, and September 25, 2008. It would be launched on the Long March 2F
Long March 2F
The Long March 2F , also known as the CZ-2F, LM-2F and Shenjian, is a Chinese manned orbital carrier rocket, part of the Long March rocket family. Designed to launch manned Shenzhou spacecraft, the Long March 2F is a man-rated two-stage version of the Long March 2E rocket, which in turn was based...

 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center
Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center is a People's Republic of China space vehicle launch facility .The facility is part of Dongfeng Aerospace City , and is located in the Gobi desert, Ejin Banner , Alxa League , Inner Mongolia, situated about 1,600 km from Beijing.- History :It was founded in 1958,...

. The command center for missions is the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center
Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center
Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center is a command center for the Chinese space program which includes the Shenzhou missions. The space center is supervised and managed by the government of the People's Republic of China. BACCC's primary functions include supervision, telemetry, tracking...

.

The first unmanned flight of the spacecraft was launched on November 19, 1999 after which Project 921/1 was renamed Shenzhou, a name reportedly chosen by Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin
Jiang Zemin is a former Chinese politician, who served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China from 1989 to 2002, as President of the People's Republic of China from 1993 to 2003, and as Chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2005...

. A series of three additional unmanned flights ensued. The Shenzhou reentry modules used to date are 13 percent larger than Soyuz reentry modules, and it is expected that later crafts will be designed to carry a crew of four instead of Soyuz's three, although physical limitations on astronaut size, as experienced with earlier incarnations of Soyuz, will likely apply.

The fifth launch, Shenzhou 5
Shenzhou 5
Shenzhou 5  — was the first human spaceflight mission of the People's Republic of China , launched on October 15, 2003. The Shenzhou spacecraft was launched on a Long March 2F launch vehicle. There had been four previous flights of unmanned Shenzhou missions since 1999...

, was the first to carry a human (Yang Liwei
Yang Liwei
Yáng Lìwěi is a Chinese major general and military pilot and a CNSA astronaut. He was the first man sent into space by the Chinese space program and his mission, Shenzhou 5, made China the third country to independently send people into space.-Background:...

) and occurred at 9:00 CST (UTC +8) on October 15, 2003.

Missions launched


  • Shenzhou 1
    Shenzhou 1
    Shenzhou 1 launched on November 19, 1999, was the first unmanned launch of the Shenzhou spacecraft. The spacecraft used was not equipped with a life support system or an emergency escape system. After orbiting the Earth 14 times, the command for retrofire was sent by the Yuanwang 3 tracking ship...

     – November 19, 1999 – unmanned test flight
  • Shenzhou 2
    Shenzhou 2
    Shenzhou 2 launched on January 9, 2001, was the second unmanned launch of the Shenzhou spacecraft. Inside the reentry capsule were a monkey, a dog and a rabbit in a test of the spaceship's life support systems...

     – January 9, 2001 – carried animals
  • Shenzhou 3
    Shenzhou 3
    Shenzhou 3 launched on March 25, 2002, was the third unmanned launch of China's Shenzhou spacecraft. This was the first Shenzhou spacecraft launched that could have actually carried a human and as such the main objective of the mission was to test the systems required to support a human in space...

     – March 25, 2002 – carried a test dummy
  • Shenzhou 4
    Shenzhou 4
    Shenzhou 4 launched on December 29, 2002, was the fourth unmanned launch of the Chinese Shenzhou spacecraft. Carried on board were two dummy astronauts to test the life support systems....

     – December 29, 2002 – carried a test dummy and several science experiments
  • Shenzhou 5
    Shenzhou 5
    Shenzhou 5  — was the first human spaceflight mission of the People's Republic of China , launched on October 15, 2003. The Shenzhou spacecraft was launched on a Long March 2F launch vehicle. There had been four previous flights of unmanned Shenzhou missions since 1999...

     – October 15, 2003 – 14 Earth orbits carrying Yang Liwei
    Yang Liwei
    Yáng Lìwěi is a Chinese major general and military pilot and a CNSA astronaut. He was the first man sent into space by the Chinese space program and his mission, Shenzhou 5, made China the third country to independently send people into space.-Background:...

  • Shenzhou 6
    Shenzhou 6
    Shenzhou 6 was the second human spaceflight of the People's Republic of China, launched on October 12, 2005 on a Long March 2F rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. The Shenzhou spacecraft carried a crew of Fèi Jùnlóng and Niè Hǎishèng for five days in low Earth orbit...

     – October 12, 2005 – five day mission with Fei Junlong
    Fei Junlong
    Colonel Fei Junlong is a Chinese military pilot and an astronaut. He flew on the second manned spaceflight of the Shenzhou program....

     and Nie Haisheng
    Nie Haisheng
    Colonel Niè Hǎishèng is a Chinese military pilot and CNSA astronaut .-Military career:Nie was born in Yangdang town of Zaoyang, Hubei Province. After graduating from high school he joined the People's Liberation Army Air Force and became a fighter pilot. During his training at the PLAAF's No...

  • Shenzhou 7
    Shenzhou 7
    - Backup crew :Of the back-up crew, only Chen Quan had not previously flown in space.- Mission highlights :The Long March 2F rocket launched the Shenzhou 7 into an initial elliptical orbit of 200 x 330 kilometres inclined at 42.4 degrees on 25 September 2008. About seven hours later the spacecraft...

     – September 25, 2008 – three man crew with Zhai Zhigang
    Zhai Zhigang
    Zhai Zhigang is an officer in the People's Liberation Army Air Force and a CNSA astronaut. During the Shenzhou 7 mission in 2008, he became the first Chinese citizen to carry out a spacewalk.-Early career:...

    , Liu Boming
    Liu Boming
    Liu Boming was an educator and philosopher.Liu Boming is the first Chinese receiving doctor's degree in philosophy. He finished his work The Theory of Chinese Mind Nature in 1913, and The Philosophy of Taoism in 1915 when he was a Doctoral candidate at Northwestern University in America. He...

    , and Jing Haipeng; spacewalk performed by two crew members
  • Shenzhou 8
    Shenzhou 8
    Shenzhou 8 was an unmanned flight of China's Shenzhou program, launched on October 31, 2011 UTC, or November 1 in China, by a modified Long March 2F rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center....

     – October 31, 2011 – unmanned mission carrying 2 test dummies, which rendezvoused and docked with Tiangong 1
    Tiangong 1
    Tiangong-1 is a Chinese space laboratory module, and is an experimental testbed to demonstrate the rendezvous and docking capabilities needed to support a space station complex. Launched unmanned aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket on 29 September 2011, it is part of the Tiangong program, which aims...

    .

Planned missions

  • Shenzhou 9
    Shenzhou 9
    Shenzhou 9 is a planned, probably manned flight of China's Shenzhou program that is scheduled for launch in March or April 2012, following the unmanned Shenzhou 8 mission in 2011. The aim of the mission will be to perform a docking with the Tiangong 1...

     – 2012 – three-person crew (possibly first female), will dock with Tiangong 1
    Tiangong 1
    Tiangong-1 is a Chinese space laboratory module, and is an experimental testbed to demonstrate the rendezvous and docking capabilities needed to support a space station complex. Launched unmanned aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket on 29 September 2011, it is part of the Tiangong program, which aims...

     after Shenzhou 8
    Shenzhou 8
    Shenzhou 8 was an unmanned flight of China's Shenzhou program, launched on October 31, 2011 UTC, or November 1 in China, by a modified Long March 2F rocket which lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center....

    .
  • Shenzhou 10
    Shenzhou 10
    Shenzhou 10 is a planned manned spaceflight of China's Shenzhou program that is scheduled for launch in 2012. This conventional Shenzhou will carry a crew of three astronauts...

     – 2012 – three-person crew (possibly first female), will dock with Tiangong 1
    Tiangong 1
    Tiangong-1 is a Chinese space laboratory module, and is an experimental testbed to demonstrate the rendezvous and docking capabilities needed to support a space station complex. Launched unmanned aboard a Long March 2F/G rocket on 29 September 2011, it is part of the Tiangong program, which aims...

     after Shenzhou 9
    Shenzhou 9
    Shenzhou 9 is a planned, probably manned flight of China's Shenzhou program that is scheduled for launch in March or April 2012, following the unmanned Shenzhou 8 mission in 2011. The aim of the mission will be to perform a docking with the Tiangong 1...

    .
  • Shenzhou 11 – (?) – manned mission carrying the crew to Tiangong 2
    Tiangong 2
    Tiangong-2 will be a Chinese space laboratory, part of the Project 921-2 space station program. Tiangong-2 is expected to be launched by the China National Space Agency in 2013 to replace the prototype module Tiangong-1, which was launched in September 2011....

    .


This is similar to the process used by the Soviet Union in their early Soyuz program which was intended to test procedures for future lunar flights.

Design


The Shenzhou spacecraft resembles the Soyuz
Soyuz spacecraft
Soyuz , Union) is a series of spacecraft initially designed for the Soviet space programme by the Korolyov Design Bureau in the 1960s, and still in service today...

, although it is longer, with a larger habitable volume. It features a powered service module like the Soyuz, and prior to Shenzhou 8 its orbital module was capable of autonomous flight.

In 1994, Russia sold some of its advanced aviation and space technology to the Chinese. In 1995 a deal was signed between the two countries for the transfer of Russian Soyuz spacecraft technology to China. Included in the agreement was training, provision of Soyuz capsules, life support systems, docking systems, and space suits. In 1996 two Chinese astronauts, Wu Jie and Li Qinglong, began training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Russia. After training, these men returned to China and proceeded to train other Chinese astronauts at sites near Beijing and Jiuquan. The hardware and information sold by the Russians led to modifications of the original Phase One spacecraft, eventually called Shenzhou, which loosely translated means “divine vessel.” New launch facilities were built at the Jiuquan launch site in Inner Mongolia, and in the spring of 1998 a mock-up of the Long March 2F launch vehicle with Shenzhou spacecraft was rolled out for integration and facility tests.

The similarity in outward appearance between Shenzhou and Soyuz arises partially from basic constraints on space flight. Like Soyuz, Shenzhou consists of three modules: a forward orbital module
Orbital module
The orbital module is a portion of spacecraft used only in orbit. These have developed from the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft.-Soyuz orbit module:The orbit module is a spherical part of Soviet-Russian Soyuz space ship series...

 (轨道舱), a reentry module (返回舱) in the middle, and an aft service module
Service module
A service module is a spacecraft compartment containing a variety of support systems used for spacecraft operations. Usually located in the uninhabited area of the spacecraft, the service module is jettisoned upon the completion of the mission, and usually burns up during atmospheric reentry...

 (推进舱). This division is based on the principle of minimizing the amount of material to be returned to Earth. Anything placed in the orbital or service modules does not require heat shield
Heat shield
A heat shield is designed to shield a substance from absorbing excessive heat from an outside source by either dissipating, reflecting or simply absorbing the heat...

ing, and this increases the space available in the spacecraft without increasing weight as much as it would if those modules were also able to withstand reentry
Atmospheric reentry
Atmospheric entry is the movement of human-made or natural objects as they enter the atmosphere of a celestial body from outer space—in the case of Earth from an altitude above the Kármán Line,...

. Thus both Soyuz and Shenzhou have more living area with less weight than the Apollo CSM
Apollo Command/Service Module
The Command/Service Module was one of two spacecraft, along with the Lunar Module, used for the United States Apollo program which landed astronauts on the Moon. It was built for NASA by North American Aviation...

.

Complete spacecraft data
Total mass: 7,840 kg
Length: 9.25 m
Diameter: 2.80 m
Span: 17.00 m

Orbital module



The orbital module
Orbital module
The orbital module is a portion of spacecraft used only in orbit. These have developed from the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft.-Soyuz orbit module:The orbit module is a spherical part of Soviet-Russian Soyuz space ship series...

 (轨道舱) contains space for experiments, crew-serviced or operated equipment, and in-orbit habitation. Without docking
Docking
Docking may refer to:* for ships, the use of a Dock, e.g. mooring or drydocking.* Spacecraft docking, the process of joining one spacecraft or space station module to another.* Docking , the practice of trimming the tail of an animal....

 systems, Shenzhou 1–6 carried different kinds of payload on the top of their orbital modules for scientific experiments.

Up until Shenzhou 8, the orbital module of the Shenzhou was equipped with its own propulsion
Spacecraft propulsion
Spacecraft propulsion is any method used to accelerate spacecraft and artificial satellites. There are many different methods. Each method has drawbacks and advantages, and spacecraft propulsion is an active area of research. However, most spacecraft today are propelled by forcing a gas from the...

, solar power
Solar panels on spacecraft
Spacecraft operating in the inner solar system usually rely on the use of photovoltaic solar panels to derive electricity from sunlight. In the outer solar system, where the sunlight is too weak to produce sufficient power, radioisotope thermal generators are used as a power source.-History:The...

, and control
Attitude control (spacecraft)
Attitude control is the exercise of control over the orientation of an object with respect to an inertial frame of reference or another entity ....

 systems
Robotic spacecraft
A robotic spacecraft is a spacecraft with no humans on board, that is usually under telerobotic control. A robotic spacecraft designed to make scientific research measurements is often called a space probe. Many space missions are more suited to telerobotic rather than crewed operation, due to...

, allowing autonomous flight. It was possible for Shenzhou to leave an orbital module in orbit for redocking with a later spacecraft, something which the Soyuz cannot do since the hatch enabling it to function as an airlock is part of its reentry module. In the future it is possible that the orbital module(s) could also be left behind on the planned Chinese project 921/2 space station
Space station
A space station is a spacecraft capable of supporting a crew which is designed to remain in space for an extended period of time, and to which other spacecraft can dock. A space station is distinguished from other spacecraft used for human spaceflight by its lack of major propulsion or landing...

 as additional station modules.

In the unmanned test flights launched to date, the orbital module of each Shenzhou was left functioning on orbit for several days after the reentry modules return, and the Shenzhou 5
Shenzhou 5
Shenzhou 5  — was the first human spaceflight mission of the People's Republic of China , launched on October 15, 2003. The Shenzhou spacecraft was launched on a Long March 2F launch vehicle. There had been four previous flights of unmanned Shenzhou missions since 1999...

 orbital module continued to operate for six months after launch.

Orbital module data
Design life: 200 days.
Length: 2.80 m (9.10 ft).
Basic diameter: 2.25 m (7.38 ft).
Maximum diameter: 2.25 m (7.38 ft).
Span: 10.40 m (34.10 ft).
Habitable volume: 8.00 m³.
Mass: 1,500 kg (3,300 lb).
RCS Coarse No x Thrust: 16 x 5 N.
RCS Propellants: Hydrazine
Hydrazine
Hydrazine is an inorganic compound with the formula N2H4. It is a colourless flammable liquid with an ammonia-like odor. Hydrazine is highly toxic and dangerously unstable unless handled in solution. Approximately 260,000 tons are manufactured annually...

.
Electrical system: Solar panels, 12.24 m².
Electric system: 0.50 average kW.
Electric system: 1.20 kWh.

Reentry module


The reentry module
Reentry capsule
A reentry capsule is the portion of a spacecraft which returns to Earth following a space flight. The shape is determined partly by aerodynamics; a capsule is aerodynamically stable falling blunt end first, which allows only the blunt end to require a heat shield for atmospheric reentry. Its shape...

 (返回舱) is located in the middle section of the spacecraft and contains seating for the crew. It is the only portion of Shenzhou which returns to Earth's surface. Its shape is a compromise between maximizing living space while allowing for some aerodynamic control upon reentry.

Reentry module data
Crew size: 3.
Design life: 20 days.
Length: 2.50 m (8.20 ft).
Basic diameter: 2.52 m (8.26 ft).
Maximum diameter: 2.52 m (8.26 ft).
Habitable volume: 6.00 m³.
Mass: 3,240 kg (7,140 lb).
Heat shield mass: 450 kg (990 lb)
RCS Coarse No x Thrust: 8 x 150 N.
RCS Propellants: Hydrazine

Service module


The aft service module
Service module
A service module is a spacecraft compartment containing a variety of support systems used for spacecraft operations. Usually located in the uninhabited area of the spacecraft, the service module is jettisoned upon the completion of the mission, and usually burns up during atmospheric reentry...

 (推进舱) contains life support and other equipment required for the functioning of Shenzhou. Two pairs of solar panels
Photovoltaic module
A solar panel is a packaged, connected assembly of solar cells, also known as photovoltaic cells...

, one pair on the service module, the other pair on the orbital module, have a total area of over 40 m² (430 ft²), indicating average electrical power over 1.5 kW (Soyuz have 1.0 kW).

Service module data
Design life: 20 days.
Length: 2.94 m (9.65 ft).
Basic diameter: 2.50 m (8.20 ft).
Maximum diameter: 2.80 m (9.10 ft).
Span: 17.00 m (55.00 ft).
Mass: 3,000 kg (6,600 lb).
RCS Coarse No x Thrust: 8 x 150 N.
RCS Fine No x Thrust: 16 x 5 N.
RCS Propellants: N2O4/MMH, unified system with main engine.
Main engine: 4 x 2500 N.
Main engine thrust: 10.000 kN (2,248 lbf).
Main engine propellants: N2O4/MMH.
Main engine propellants: 1,000 kg (2,200 lb).
Main engine Isp: 290 sec. L/D Hypersonic: 0.30.
Electrical system: Solar panels, 24.48 + 12.24 m², 36.72 m² total.
Electric system: 1.00 average kW.
Electric system: 2.40 kWh.

See also

  • Spacecraft
    Spacecraft
    A spacecraft or spaceship is a craft or machine designed for spaceflight. Spacecraft are used for a variety of purposes, including communications, earth observation, meteorology, navigation, planetary exploration and transportation of humans and cargo....

  • Shuguang
  • Long March rocket
    Long March rocket
    A Long March rocket or Chang Zheng rocket as in Chinese pinyin is any rocket in a family of expendable launch systems operated by the People's Republic of China. Development and design falls under the auspices of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology...

  • Project 921-2
    Project 921-2
    Tiangong is a space station program of the People's Republic of China, with the goal of creating a third generation space station, comparable to MIR. This program is autonomous and unconnected to any other international space-active countries...

  • Space program of China
  • China National Space Administration
    China National Space Administration
    The China National Space Administration is the national space agency of the People's Republic of China responsible for the national space program. It is responsible for planning and development of space activities...

  • Harbin Institute of Technology
    Harbin Institute of Technology
    The Harbin Institute of Technology , or HIT, is colloquially known as Hagongda . It is a research university in the city of Harbin, Heilongjiang Province, China....

  • Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
    Beihang University, previously known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics is a major research university located in Beijing, China....

  • 863 Program
    863 Program
    The 863 program or State High-Tech Development Plan is a program funded and administered by the government of the People's Republic of China intended to stimulate the development of advanced technologies in a wide range of fields for the purpose of rendering China independent of financial...


External links