Yuanwang 5/6 Space Tracking Ships
Shanghai-based Jiangnan Shipyard began to build two hulls of the third-generation Yuanwang space tracking ship in 2005. The first hull Yuanwang 5 was launched on 15 September 2006, with the sea trial beginning in early 2007. The ship was officially handed over to the Satellite Maritime Tracking and Control (SMTC) based in Jiangyin on 29 September 2007. The ship was joined by its sister ship Yuanwang 6 on 12 April 2008 to support China’s Project 921 manned spaceflight and other space missions.
Yuanwang 5 has a full displacement of 25,000 tonnes, and is equipped with a whole range of space tracking and communications systems, including an S-band and C-band tracking and control system, and a C-band pulse radar. The ship is capable of tracking space launch vehicles, satellites, manned spacecraft, and other types of spacecraft, as well as real-time voice/image communication and data exchange with the land-based control centre.
Yuanwang 5 features a fibre optics-based shipboard network for data sharing and exchange between different sub-systems onboard. The living conditions for the crew have also been significantly improved compared to previous Yuanwang space tracking ships. According to the Chinese media report, Yuanwang 6 differs from Yuanwang 5 in that it has a large mission control hall occupying two decks. The ship was commissioned in 2008.
The ships are fitted with C- and S-band monopulse tracking radar, Cinetheodolite laser ranging and tracking system, velocimetry system, and onboard computers to track and control the spacecraft. They use a combination of inertial, satellite, and stellar for accurate navigation and positioning. Communications include HF, ULF, UHF, and SATCOM, in the form of secured telephone, radio, fax and data link. The ships are also equipped with a range of weather forecasting equipments including weather radar, sonde, and weather balloon, meteorological satellite image receiving terminal.
||15 Sept 2006
||29 Sept 07
||12 Apr 08
Displacement: (full) 25,000t
Helicopter deck: Yes
Helicopter hanger: Yes
Last update: 6 March 2009