Just now, the “Shenzhou 12” was launched! What’s different this time in manned spaceflight?

Last month, Tianwen-1 successfully landed on Mars and released my country’s first Mars rover "Zhu Rong". It successfully completed the missions of flying, landing, and cruising around Mars in one launch, which is a feat in the history of human spaceflight.

And today, we will go one step further.

Just now, the Long March 2 F Yao 12 carrier called "Shen Arrow" was launched on board the Shenzhou 12 manned spacecraft. Three astronauts, Nie Haisheng, Liu Boming and Tang Hongbo, will take this spacecraft. Fly to my country's autonomous manned space station Tiangong, and this time will greatly increase the residence time, up to 3 months.

After nearly 5 years, we finally embarked on a manned space flight again to build a "Tiangong".

Goal "Tiangong", go!

The Long March 2F carrier rocket that is responsible for the transportation this time is familiar to many people. It is designed for launching manned spacecraft. It can transport a payload of 8.6 tons to the earth 200 kilometers perigee and 350 kilometers apogee. Low Earth Orbit.

▲ Picture from: Aerospace Enthusiast Network

The safety performance of the Long March 2 F rocket is very good. At present, all the launch missions it has participated in have been successfully completed. This is one of the reasons why it is called the "sacred arrow", and this time it is the purpose of flying with the astronauts. It is the core module of Tianhe and the core component of the Tiangong of my country's space station.

Here, the three astronauts will carry out work for up to 3 months. At the same time, the Tianhe core module is also their main living area. In order to ensure the basic life experience of the astronauts, the Tianhe core module is equipped with 3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. At the same time, more than 120 kinds of space food are prepared, and astronauts can also use space treadmills and bicycles for exercise.

▲ Tianhe core cabin was exhibited in Zhuhai. Picture from: Beijing News

When preparing for the launch, CCTV also interviewed Yang Liwei, deputy chief designer of China’s manned space project. He said that the three astronauts participating in the space mission were selected from the first and second batch of astronauts. It was also revealed that there are currently 16 astronauts capable of space flight.

Astronaut Nie Haisheng has participated in the Shenzhou 6 and Shenzhou 10 manned missions, the astronaut Liu Boming has participated in the Shenzhou 7 manned mission, and the astronaut Tang Hongbo is the first flight.

Other astronauts will also have the opportunity to board the Tiangong of my country's space station according to the plan to perform missions. This time, the requirement for the astronauts participating in the Shenzhou 12 mission is that all three of them must have the ability to exit the cabin for rotation.

For this reason, the astronauts have carried out rigorous training. In addition to the more common physical training and weightlessness simulation training, more importantly is the simulation work training, including the equipment assembly that the astronauts must complete on the sky and core modules. , With the help of manipulators, the replacement of cabin equipment, etc.

This launch coincided with the epidemic, and it also posed a lot of challenges for the entire rocket launch and stationing in the space station. Fortunately, the Shenzhou 12 manned space team responded quickly and opened up multiple lines from the astronaut center to the AIT hall. In the network transmission link, machine interpretation is introduced at the same time, which reduces the deployment of on-site personnel, and prepares and executes launches while reducing communication.

The last manned space mission in my country was completed by the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft in 2016. At that time, the astronauts Jing Haipeng and Chen Dong completed the mission brilliantly, staying in space for a month, and this time with the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft. With the launch of the 12th, this record will be broken, and the three astronauts will stay for three months.

It is worth mentioning that the three astronauts will also enjoy a special "demolition express" experience in space during their stay. Last month, the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft was successfully launched and handed over at the Tiangong space station. More than 160 packages were loaded, waiting for the astronauts to open them.

▲ Picture from Tianzhou-2: The 5th Academy of Aerospace Science and Technology

The residence time has increased significantly. In addition to the test of the spacecraft and space station, it is also a huge test of the astronauts' physical strength and psychology. As the first batch of personnel stationed in the core capsule "Tianhe", their mission will also be followed by other missions. Astronauts boarded the space station to provide valuable experience.

At the same time, this is also a new starting point for my country’s three-step manned spaceflight strategy. According to the plan, my country will continue to launch the two large experimental modules Mengtian and Wentian, as well as the previously launched Tianhe core module, Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft, and manned spacecraft. Spacecraft, etc. form a complete Tiangong manned space station.

▲ The basic structure of Tiangong Space Station. The picture is an artistic one

The Shenzhou 12 manned space mission is more like a space station manned training, laying a solid foundation for the full construction and commissioning of the space station in 2022.

Shenzhou 12, a new starting point for the "three-step" manned space project

As early as the 1990s, my country set a three-step strategy for manned space projects. The Shenzhou 12 manned space launch is the third step "to build a space station to solve the problem of large-scale and long-term manned space projects." The important step of taking care of the space application problem.

Our country has been preparing for this for many years, and many of them have become the basic technology or facilities for the Shenzhou 12 manned spacecraft mission. The construction of the Tiangong space station is a journey of learning and also a journey of innovation.

Taking the space rendezvous and docking technology, one of the most critical technologies in manned spaceflight, as an example, Yang Hong, chief designer of the space station system of the China Academy of Space Technology, once said:

The mechanical, electrical, and thermal systems of the two spacecraft must be organically integrated into one, which is equivalent to 1 plus 1 but also equal to 1. When separated, the two spacecraft will also become independent aircraft.

It is not easy to connect a several-ton spacecraft. For this reason, after continuous exploration and innovation, Tiangong-1 and Shenzhou-8 completed the space docking as a turning point. Since then, related technologies have continued to improve. This time, the Shenzhou-12 spacecraft and the space station The docking will also use the same fast and automatic docking technology as the Tianzhou-2 as planned.

According to the Guangming Daily report , compared with the previous fast automatic docking technology, there is a huge improvement, achieving all-phase, fully automatic fast docking. Full phase refers to whether the relative position between the aircraft and the space station is 1/4 circle, half circle, or full circle, it can be docked at the fastest speed or within a specified time, and there is no need to determine the launch time based on the location of the space station.

▲ Tianzhou-2 docking with the space station

Automatic means of the automatic docking on a day boat docking with the space station's number two would do fully automatic, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Group of the five branches day boat II cargo ship Rong, deputy chief designer party representation :

In the past, the rendezvous and docking of the spacecraft took about 2 to 3 days from launch to meeting the rendezvous and docking conditions, and a lot of manual participation was required in the process. This time, the Tianzhou-2 docking with the Tianhe core module took about 8 hours, without ground intervention, just like an unmanned car.

Of course, in order to make the mission smooth, the spacecraft will generally be equipped with a manual docking system. my country’s 8-hour rapid docking technology is also among the fastest in the world. SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft recently took 40 hours to dock with the International Space Station. Last year, Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft only took about 3 hours. The docking with the International Space Station is completed.

▲ SpaceX Dragon Spaceship

The faster docking speed can not only reduce the time that astronauts stay in the narrow space of the spacecraft, but also can better and faster deliver some items that require time preservation, such as biological agents, to the space station for proper storage.

The Tianhe core module that the astronauts will go to this time is also the crystallization of my country’s high-end technology. The core module has a total length of about 16.6 meters, a large pillar section of 4.2 meters in diameter, a small pillar section of about 2.8 meters, and a weight of 20 tons. Long-term flight capability, support for the lives of astronauts, and also conduct experiments in space medicine and space science.

▲Tianhe core cabin

In order to ensure the stable presence of astronauts in space, there are many corresponding support technologies in the core capsule. The environmental control and urine preservation processing subsystem developed by the Second Academy of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation of China 206 is one of them. Cui Guang-zhi, according to the space of the Electrical and Mechanical technology Research Office space representation :

In a single working cycle, the urine processing subsystem can extract 5 liters of distilled water from 6 liters of urine, and the purified reclaimed water exceeds the national health standards, which can fully meet the drinking, cleaning, and preparation requirements of astronauts staying in the space station for a long time. Oxygen and many other uses.

This not only ensures that the astronauts stay in the space station safely, but also reduces the load pressure of the space station through recycling.

▲ Tiangong Space Station. Picture from: Xinhua News Agency

Similarly, in order to ensure the safety of the materials in the storage room of the Tianzhou-2 cargo ship, a tag with radio frequency identification function is also equipped. Astronauts can quickly find specific materials through special equipment. The efficiency is improved in terms of whether it is used or reproduced by equipment, and time is extremely important in space residency.

Having said that, you may think that these technologies are a little far away from ordinary people, but in fact they are already changing our lives subtly.

Achievements in the present, benefits in the future

The manned space project is undoubtedly a national project that requires huge manpower and material resources, but at the same time it is also creating economic benefits and even changing people's lives. As early as 2016, China Long March Rocket Co., Ltd. launched the corresponding Chinese rocket commercial service system.

▲ Picture source: Quartz

The service system includes the provision of rocket launch programs, the use of the remaining capacity of the existing Long March series of rocket launch missions, the provision of cost-effective load carrying services for the commercial market, and the development of corresponding space manned tourism services in the future, which can create Certain economic benefits.

As for the construction of my country’s own space station Tiangong, on the one hand, the launch technology is in your own hands, which can save a lot of "ship ticket money." NASA has repeatedly purchased tickets from Russia to allow astronauts to take the spacecraft. space station.

And Russia has been increasing the price of ferry tickets. From more than 20 million U.S. dollars to 90 million U.S. dollars, NASA even spent more than 3 billion U.S. dollars on the ticket money. One of the reasons SpaceX's spacecraft was selected by NASA is the price advantage.

On the other hand, my country has not been able to participate in the international space station currently in operation, and to conduct long-term and regular technical experiments in space, the importance of the space station is self-evident, and the construction of its own space station is also very necessary.

In addition to the commercialization of rockets in the aerospace field, space experimental technology has a more far-reaching impact. According to the "Looking" magazine, my country’s more than 1,000 new materials in recent years, 80% have been developed under the traction of space technology, and many of them It has been civilianized and commercialized.

Direct economic benefit of its creation is very large, Minsheng Securities research report said , commercial space project is expected to invest over billions, aerospace sector or meet strategic opportunities. Many evaluation agencies in the United States and Europe show that for every 1 yuan invested in the aerospace sector, a return of 7 yuan to 12 yuan will be generated.

The exploration of space is the goal of all mankind. After the completion of my country’s space station, it will also cooperate with many countries and regions around the world based on the principles of "peaceful use, equality, mutual benefit, and common development." 9 projects from 17 countries have been selected. , Participated in the joint experiment project at the Tiangong Space Station.

On the other hand, space technology is indeed changing the lives of each of us. For example, astronauts are prone to loss of bone in a microgravity environment. Research in this area and related drugs not only solve the problem of astronauts’ lives in space, but also related drugs. Products and technologies that can treat bone loss diseases in the elderly, eye trackers, ear thermometers, and the use of medical images to detect internal injuries and cancer are all closely related to aerospace technology.

Now the fiery autopilot technology also has space technology figure , China Aerospace Science and Technology Group has accumulated eight homes use of space science and technology to create the first domestic low-cost anti-collision radar, help measure the peripheral object position, and driver assistance safety protection, related technologies It is still evolving.

In addition, there are many technical researches on biology, network communication, etc., and the three astronauts have been stationed in the space and core modules for a longer time. In addition to preparing for the astronauts to board the space station, there is more time to prepare. Related space experiments.

In the last manned space flight, although the stationed time was only one month, the astronauts still conducted experiments, and they even planted lettuce seeds by themselves.

There is no doubt that with the launch of Shenzhou 12 we are one step closer to the construction of the Tiangong space station, followed by the precipitation of related technologies, some of which have directly become new technologies, and some will be Improve our living standards in the future.

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