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Yuan Wang tracking ship

Yuanwang means "Long View" or "Far Hope". The Chinese refer to the fleet as "maritime aerospace survey vessels" carrying "transoceanic aerospace observation and control technology." Each ship has an impressive array of dishes and scanners. By 2019, the fleet of Yuanwang includes four measuring vessels, Yuanwang No.3, Yuanwang No.5, Yuanwang No.6 and Yuanwang No.7.

Space Survey Ship main mission is to track and telemetry various medium and long-range missiles, satellites and spacecraft, accurately determine its landing points, recover warhead cones, satellite instrument data cabins and spacecraft cockpits. The space measurement vessel has a large range of activities and a long working time, so the tonnage is relatively large. At present, the displacement of aerospace surveying vessels in the world is basically 10,000-50,000 tons, the endurance is 16,000 to 20,000 nautical miles, and the self-sufficiency is more than 90 days. The distinctive feature of the spacecraft is the huge aerospace measurement system. The 9-, 12-, and 25-meter air-to-air search and telemetry remote sensing radar antennas are the most obvious external signs for aerospace survey vessels. Navigation, communication, control and command systems have concentrated on cutting-edge technologies in various disciplines. The core remote sensing measurement systems and information processing and analysis systems have applied cutting-edge technologies.

At present, only China, the United States, Russia, France and other countries have built space survey vessels, of which the United States has the most (23 ships in succession). But the Russian "Yuri Gagarin" aerospace survey vessel is the largest and most prestigious. The ship is a conventional ship type with a full displacement of 53,500 tons, the main scale is 231.6×31×8.5 meters, the economic speed is 18 knots, the endurance is 20,000 nautical miles, and the self-sufficiency is 210 days. There are 136 crew members (212 scientists) and 86 laboratories equipped with eight systems including sounding radar, satellite communication, stability control, navigation and positioning and data processing.

An ocean going instrumentation ship is a special ship built for the development of intercontinental guided missile, submarine to shore missile and astronautical technology. In the United States, the Manned Space Flight Network (MSFN), originally implemented to support Project Mercury, and subsequently, Project Gemini, was equipped to support the requirements of Project Apollo. The network consisted primarily of stations in the United States and six foreign countries. These stations were geographically situated to provide the most efficient coverage between the latitudes of approximately 35° North and 35° South, where most of the spacecraft orbits were contained.

On 14 January 1964 NASA and DOD signed an agreement on instrumentation ships provided that ships required to support NASA and DOD programs would be placed in pool operation on behalf of both agencies, and that the Navy would be the lead agency on ship modification and conversion. Other general-purpose Range ships could not be used for this function. The principal reasons for this were: (1) that the ships must have on board an extensive amount of project-peculiar equipment which must be identical to the equipment at other stations of the ground network; (2) that the operation of the ships' instrumentation must be closely integrated into the full network operation and that therefore technical operation should be performed by the contractor who operates other network stations; and (3) that the ships would have to be available to NASA on station for extended periods to conduct simulations and rehearsals and to allow for day-to-day slippages in launches. All this would add up to nearly full time use of the ships by NASA.

In support of Project Apollo, five instrumentation ships were added to the network: three 19-Class, consisting of T-AGM-19, 20, 21 Apollo Instrumentation Ships (AIS) for earth orbital insertion and translunar injection; and two 6-Class, consisting of T -AGM-6, 7 AIS for the reentry phase of the Apollo mission. The Ships were instrumented and deployed for optimum coverage of the Apollo mission in areas not supported by land stations. These mobile tracking and communication platforms provide the mission with the flexibility required to support all phases from launch to recovery.

The Apollo ships were developed jointly by NASA and the Department of Defense. The DOD operated the ships in suppor of Apollo and other NASA/WD missions on a noninterference basis with Apollo support requirements. The overall management of the Apollo ship operation was the responsibility of the Air Force Western Test Range (AFWTR). The Military Sea Transport Service MSTS) provided the maritime crews; the Federal Electric Co. (FEC) (under contract to AFWTR) provided the technical instrumentation crews. Goddard Space Flight Center (QSFC) was respon- sible for the configuration control and network interface of the ships in support of Apollo missions. The technical crews operated in accordance with joint NASA/WD technical standards and speci- fications which were compatible with the manned space flight network procedures.

In the Soviet Union, the Strategic Rocket Force (RVSN) conducted all military and civilian spacelaunches. Its primary responsibility is strategicnuclear missiles, and it is thought to control all Soviet launch vehicles. The RVSN also operates launch facilities, tracking ships and stations, and conductsmission control at the Flight Control Center (TsUP). The Academy of Sciences was the "junior partner" in the space program. For general space purposes, by 1990 the Academy had 10 tracking ships (converted merchant vessels) for sea-basedspace support and 0peraies some land-basedtracking stations within the USSR. The Academy's fleet included the "Kosmonavt Vladimir Komarov," which was re-equipped to conduct up-to-date collection and analysisof ecological data. Its former duties of tracking manned spacecraft and orbiting stations were assumed by its sister science ship "Marshall Krylov," which also conducted studies of the upper atmosphere and radio wave propagation.

The Chinese ocean going fleet of survey ships has successively completed intercontinental ballistic missile full range flight test, submarine to shore guided missile underwater launch test, communications satellite launch test and southpole visit, making a great contribution to China's science and technology development as well as weapons and equipment development and test.

The Yuan Wang tracking ships go to "three major oceans" to support piloted missions. They are assigned to the western Pacific Ocean, southern Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean west of Australia, and southern Atlantic Ocean to track and control the Shenzhou spacecraft. That was a pattern similar to Russian deployment before piloted flights. Ever since the first launching in November 1999 this has meant Yuan Wang 1 and 2 going into the Pacific, 4 being based in the Indian Ocean with a call at Fremantle in Australia, and Yuan Wang 3 coming to Durban from where she heads around the Cape for the Atlantic coast.

Over the first 30 years up to 2008, the Yuanwang fleet has completed more than 50 expeditions to the ocean, successfully completed 68 sea monitoring and control tasks, with a total range of more than 1.4 million nautical miles, and accumulated more than 7,600 offshore operations. The success rate of measurement and control reached 100%. The motherland did not forget the merits of Yuanwang. In 1989, Deng Xiaoping signed an order to honor Yuanyuan No. 1 and Yuanwang No. 2 respectively. In 1999, Jiang Zemin signed an order to give first-class merit to Yuanwang No. 3 Ship. In 2000, Jiang Zemin signed an order to give first-class merits to Yuanwang No. 2 Ship. In 2005, Hu Jintao signed an order to award the honorary title of Yuangong No. 2 Ship “Ji Xun Measurement Ship”.

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Page last modified: 19-09-2019 18:51:53 ZULU