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714 Project - Shuguang (Dawn)

The first Soviet satellite was launched Oct. 4, 1957, and after this successful launch in less than four years Gagarin flew on April 12, 1961. China's first satellite flew as early as 1970, but why was it that more than 30 years later the Chinese astronaut was finally able to achieve this dream? In fact, back in the 1960s, China had launched a manned spacecraft secret plan "Dawning". The spaceship project faced twists and turns, and finally was cancelled, but in paved the way for the later "Shenzhou" series of spacecraft.

The Shuguang spacecraft (Chinese means in Mandarin "Dawn"), also known as "Project 714", was the first manned spacecraft of the People's Republic of China during the late 1960s and the early 1970s. It was similar to the American Gemini spacecraft two-man capsule, which was to start flying in 1973. Because of financial and political problems, the Shuguang program was cancelled on 13 May 1972.

In April 1970, China's first satellite "DongFangHong One" [The East is Red] was successfully sent into space. Prior to this, a manned spacecraft program had started development and held a manned spacecraft development program Conference. Qian Xuesen, be submitted to the Central Government, China's manned space flight program for the Chinese ship named "Dawn One." Mao Zedong's instruction on the report agreed.

At that time, the Central Military Comission [CMC] believed that the astronaut selection and pilot selection processes had commonality, though also differences, so it should be comprised of several units to complete this work. An urgent telegram was sent to the command of the air force space group. Training on the astronauts' work was urgently referred to the agenda, decided that the preparatory team for the air force was responsible for setting up the astronaut's training.

First the 500-strong aerospace unit was equipped with good leadership, including astronauts, security guard and security personnel. Subsequently the Institute of medicine and the air force Aerospace Medical Engineering Institute established an astronaut selection group, composed of experts, and included the space medical Engineering Institute of the selection program.

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union put the first artificial Earth satellite into space. The CPC Central Committee attached great importance to this, and on May 17, 1958, Chairman Mao Zedong put forward in the eight-second meeting: "We also engage in satellite." The 2nd Artillery missile tests were successful, and on Jan. 8, 1965, Qian Xuesen submited a report to the State formally recommending the development of an early satellite research program. On April 24, 1970 the "Dongfanghong" artificial earth satellite was successfully launched. As Qian Xuesen's proposal was put forward in January 1965, so the first artificial satellite "East is Red" one of the project code-named "651" project, the relevant departments called "651" preparatory office.

On April 12, 1961 the Soviet Major Gagarin boarded the "Vostok" spacecraft and successfully flew into space. On February 20, 1962, the American John Glenn flew "Friendship 7" around the earth three times. The Soviets in October 1957 launched the first artificial satellite, and less than four years Gagarin was flying in space. The Americans had the February 1958 launch of a satellite, and a full four years after they put astronaut Glenn into space.

"4 years", how attractive the progress! Which deeply touched and "seduced" Chinese scientists. The whole country that day was in carnival celebration of the first DFH. Chinese emotionally hd impulsive thoughts, and were eager to start contemplating the big bang of "Overtaking" of the type of the Great Leap Forward.

In the 1960s Chinese space program began ferment, with many proposals concerning manned space been proposed. In 1963, the Chinese Academy of Sciences established a committee for spaceflight with Zhu K, Pei Lisheng, Qian Xuesen, Zhao leadership for manned space research made a lot of pioneering work and issues of implementation.

August 9, 1965 Zhou Enlai presided over the Central Committee 13th meeting, had planned to launch its first manned spacecraft in 1979. At the end of March 1966 to early April, the CPC Central Committee was convened specifically to develop the universe spacecraft planning meetings. At that time, the rocket carrying animals (small dogs and large rats ) for the number of sub-orbital flight tests were successful. Since 1967, the Eighth Intituate of the Seventh Machine-Building Ministry s began to develop the idea of China's first piloted spaceship programs. In the first scenario, China's first manned flight was to have five astronauts, because all China wanted to go beyond every aspect of Soviet spacecraft course, the bigger the better, the more people on the proven technology of the more advanced.

As early as the first artificial satellite was launched in China prior to June 1965, 603 rocket launch base in Anhui had been successfully launched a number of bio-sounding rockets, and in these bio-sounding rockets rats, mice, fruit flies, and 12 biological test tubes, etc., were fortunate to take a tour of heaven. which have only a small leopard named small male dog. In one successful test, four rats were returned alive and well. A few days later, bio-sounding rockets sent another little dog Shanshan into space and back. These sounding rocket launches of organisms were a prelude to China's manned spaceflight.

In 1966 Chinese Academy of Sciences was held in Beijing Friendship Hotel argumentation planning meetings satellite series, from "651" Institute hosted, which is one of China's largest conference on satellites and manned space mentioned problems. In the same year by the end of March to early April, under the auspices of the National Defense Science and Technology Commission, Beijing Jingxi Hotel has held a secret meeting to develop the "Dawn" manned spacecraft planning. January 8, 1968, "651" preparatory office of 501 overall ministry held its first manned spacecraft overall program envisages argumentation, and suggested that the first spacecraft named "Dawning." In accordance with the five astronauts heaven scenario, requiring the system proposed subsystem scenarios.

Qian Xuesen made this time we need to do 3 or 2 people programs, partly because we do not quite understand the situation of the rocket, the rocket was shrouded in secrecy and engage people spacecraft rocket carrying capacity overestimated. Everyone thought their country can soon become powerful, since the first one Dongfanghong Satellite heavy Dasu the United States and France at the sum of the first satellite, that first one, "Dawning" spaceship can overload several aerospace members, more than foreigners. On the other hand, is more than some departments and experts to bring the spacecraft on a person to the medical and engineering problems of ill-considered, it was unclear how this will be an insurmountable one pass. Although the Soviet Union and the United States at this time were already fired dozens of spacecraft, but they did not dare to envisage how the spacecraft narrow space put five astronauts. Even in later times the capacity of the space shuttle spacecraft, once only go up seven astronauts only.

According to existing data, the Dawn and Gemini seat is very similar, but the quality is lighter, smaller, because to carry the maximum load is only 3200 kg Long March II A (CZ-2A) launch vehicle. Two crew must sit equipped with ejection seat and instrument pressurized cockpit. the tail of the spacecraft cabin is equipped with positioning engine, propellant tanks and other hardware devices. Back cabin crew cabin and tail separated to splash way back to Earth , because the ship has no soft landing system.

On July 14, 1967, Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai approved China's aerospace industry spacecraft development and selection of China's astronauts, this secret mission, code-named "714" tasks.

January 1968, the spacecraft planned target was named Dawning. On April 1 , Institute of Space Medico-Engineering was established, followed by a number of aerospace medical research. The CPC Central Military Commission issued an order requiring the People's Liberation Army Air Force pilots to carry out the selection of astronauts, the standard is: height 1.59-1.74 m, age 24-38 years, weight 55-70 kg, at least 300 hours flight time.

January 8, 1968, "651" preparatory office of 501 overall ministry held its first manned spacecraft overall program envisages argumentation, and suggested that the first spacecraft named "Dawning." In accordance with the five astronauts heaven scenario, requiring the system proposed subsystem scenarios. First, the first five people on a spaceship to be just a relatively coarse program March 4, 1968, five homes Minister Xiabing overall group to three convey Qian Xuesen comments: first, the spacecraft developed a 5 program is not enough, need to re-propose three solutions or 2 people, for comparison. Second, the "718" project should also take into account the "Dawning" astronaut recovery rescue missions.

The end of 1969, after two months of time, screening for air forces of 1918 pilots, 215 members are elected at the beginning, then pick 88 interview, the last three groups flying techniques, psychological, physiological, and general medical examination, on this basis, rigorous clinical check for re-testing.

On July 14, 1970, Mao Zedong redlining the National Defense Science and Technology Commission on astronaut selection program report, written instructions to carry out China's manned space program.

In January 1971 came to the space medical Engineering Institute of the medical examination and special tolerance test ground simulation equipment and training.

On March 15, 1971, after the end of the selection, 19 astronauts were eventually Defense Science and Technology Commission determined that they are Lu Xiangxiao , Wangzhi Yue , Dong Xiaohai , Fang Guojun et al. April meeting on the discussion, the scientists decided to double the spacecraft shape modeled on the U.S. manned spacecraft "Gemini," the same month spaceflight program known as the "714 Project." Astronauts in November 1971 to begin training, planned in 1973, the first mission performed by the Long March II A (CZ-2A) launch vehicle. Although the selection of China's first astronauts in 1971, did not ride the Dawn spacecraft, but in practice formed a relatively complete set of astronaut selection criteria, selection in the 1990 of the 20th century astronaut, provided valuable experience.

In 1971, the Soviet Union launched a spacecraft, in order to surpass the United States the number of manned spacecraft, with two or three cosmonauts squeezed into the cabin because the space is small, only the space suits are discarded, and the results returned when an accident, three astronauts died. So this was a painful lesson, enough to warn future generations - working only to satisfy certain political purposes in, regardless of the laws of science and technology capacity, it will inevitably lead to irreversible catastrophe. Enthusiasm will always calm down in the face of reality.

July 14, 1970, China's first satellite into space less than three months later, Mao Zedong, Lin Biao, Zhou Enlai and the CMC administrative group approved a resolution on China's first manned spacecraft "Dawning" a major plan, this plan is "714 Project." Mao in this top-secret documents home made a written comment, "that started work on the development of manned spacecraft, and began selecting, training astronauts."

This is an early China Manned Space Engineering appeared in the text of the highest instructions. May 13, 1971, the preparatory group was established aerospace, begin astronaut selection and plans to launch in 1973 at the end of "Dawn a" manned spacecraft. Selection of astronauts at the time was a major event, the need for strict confidentiality. Therefore, the Air Force Defense Science and Technology Commission and several departments to "the pilot examination" in the name of thousands of fighter pilots from the Air Force in the selection out of the 19. Subsequently, the 19 trainers in the aerospace aerospace training base began to accept comprehensive training, including weight loss, centrifuges, spacecraft simulation chamber and other subjects.

"714 Project" was also the birth of a "dawn on the 1st," the full-size model, which is similar to a second generation of American spacecraft Gemini spacecraft frame size, shape like a big upside down funnel, two by the cockpit and cabin equipment cabin segment, the cockpit placed two astronauts aboard the ejection seat, there are instruments, radio communication equipment, control equipment, waste treatment plant, also has food and water, parachute, equipment cabin with a brake motor, variable rail engines, the fuel tank, power equipment and communications equipment. Objectively speaking, when scientists Chinese spacecraft selection is very insightful.

The 714 worked as a support for the manned space program, the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Xichang built up here away from the Soviet border, to better ensure safety. Dawn spacecraft planned for launch on the 1st tower, but plans were cancelled after the 1st tower, which was no longer continue to build up. Currently the 1st tower has been converted into a viewing platform, from which visitors can watch the 2nd and the 3rd tower satellite launch process.

The 1960s was the era of Soviet-American hegemony in space and manned space activities. In this case, after the Soviet Union had launched Gagarin Vostok, and further generations and Soyuz spacecraft, the United States launched the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo - three generations of spacecraft. China under the conditions of development had nothing with manned spaceflight, sought to learn from the experience of others to avoid detours. Then, the most technologically advanced spacecraft Soyuz and Apollo spacecraft experienced accidents. In April 1967 the Soviet Union on the first Soyuz spacecraft, the parachute does not open, cosmonaut Komarov sacrificed his life. The Apollo moon landing American spacecraft suffered a fire on the pad that killed three crew members. China's step in beginning to engage spaceship landing on the moon seemed somewhat unrealistic, therefore, China's spacecraft will be pointing to the target selection and the Soviet Soyuz technically close to the seat of the US Gemini.

Not only to make the spacecraft model, the selection of astronauts, scientists have also started a number of technology research, such as heat-resistant technology, return technology, control technology, engine technology, etc., also carried out several large-scale trials, and even spacecraft Food trucks and astronauts are ready. Then determine the plan: "Dawning" first manned spacecraft will take two astronauts, with "Dongfeng -5" rocket launch, launch time is 1973.

However, for the astronauts in the spacecraft development and training has been in full swing, the Chinese political arena there was a major accident, according to coasting life is suddenly forced pressed the Stop button. On the "714 Project", the time was very tight, because the "Dawning" manned spacecraft was expected to be in 1973 with "Dongfeng -5" launch vehicle, the spacecraft to carry two astronauts. So astronauts in November 1971 must be concentrated on training.

The "714" mission launched, already the astronauts flying skills training venue is tentatively scheduled in the construction of Sichuan Xichang airport. Astronaut training preparatory group but also from the Beijing Institute of Aeronautics, Beijing Normal University and other colleges and universities employ relevant experts and professors to teach about astronauts geophysical knowledge.

May 13, 1971, the preparatory group was established aerospace, begin astronaut selection and plans to launch in 1973 at the end of "Dawn" manned spacecraft. Selection of astronauts at the time was a major event, the need for strict confidentiality. Therefore, the Air Force Defense Science and Technology Commission and several departments to "the pilot examination" in the name of thousands of fighter pilots from the Air Force in the selection out of the 19. Subsequently, the 19 trainers in the aerospace aerospace training base began to accept comprehensive training, including weight loss, centrifuges, spacecraft simulation chamber and other subjects.

In the Lin Biao incident, the "714" office suspected of being a "revolt center," the letter said they were a Lin Biao uprising headquarters, and "714 Project" arrested people were an hoc group shut down, reviewing for a long time. In the "9.13" incident in 1971, in which Lin Biao fled and died in a airplane crash, the entire Air Force system into confusion. The early morning of September 13, 1971, Lin Biao et al. took Air force plane No. 256 "Trident" aircraft from Shanhaiguan Airport, in an attempted defection. Because fuel is not enough, the aircraft crashed in people's Republic of Mongolia.

Because there was air force commander Wu Faxian who Lin Biao was alleged buddies, Air Force people were caught up, the Air Force became a "disaster area", including astronaut training, including many working all interrupts. "714" Office was said to be the headquarters of the uprising Lin, Xue Lun, who was imprisoned for review.

Then, the Air Force announced that the aerospace training preparatory group was disbanded. At that time in accordance with the Air Force's plan, first set up an aerospace unit, equipped with good leadership, in order to build one, including astronaut, guard and security personnel, including about 500 units. Then the astronaut training base was in preparation for astronaut training as soon as possible to carry out the work.

At that time no one would have thought the question having regard astronaut training, intensive training was delayed, put on hold for over twenty years. Deng Xiaoping came back; foreign experts were protected; diplomatic relations were restored; Nixon visited China; Sino-Japanese relations were restored; the Fourth National People's Congress was heldLet's see how Premier Zhou Enlai did in these state affairs.

Seventh Machine Building Military Control Deputy Director Yang Guoyu recalls: Well, after astronaut selection, project development is at a standstill, the giant empty simulated spaceship, spaceship models are used cartons, wood nailed together, the above Monte a layer of tent cloth, lifeless. Life no money no food supply, people eat little corn bread, enough to eat, the selection came after a senior pilot nutrition can not guarantee that. Even worse is the "Cultural Revolution" factions secession, resorting to violence in full swing, a lot of work can not commence. In addition, all aspects of lack of funds, space industry is the most difficult manned flight, involving almost all the world's basic science and theoretical techniques require the most advanced theoretical, experimental, materials, process equipment and cutting-edge technology to support, in a word , manned spaceflight, is to spend a lot a lot. At that time, the state can make only so much money on the spacecraft.

In fact, China was not only too weak economic foundation, unable to support the huge expenses, but also the lack of sufficient experience in developing large projects, systems engineering management approach is also lacking, some projects go faster some slower on some projects, even stagnated there. Ultimately, the "Dawning" The ship master plan drawings, was mothballed into five hospital archives.

In 1977, the National Defense Science and Technology Commission intends to layoff 507 complete development tasks, although ultimately not completely abolished, but cut by 2/3 of the staff development program interruption and supply cut off funding for research and development projects. 1978 China Agricultural University to move back to the 507 seat made recycling requirements, 507 almost immediately forced relocation, a few years later moved to the new office opposite CAU until 921 project officially moved to China after SkyCity.

In the 1970s, the Chinese government conducted several satellite development programs, including retrievable satellites, navigation satellites, communication satellites and so on. Some people think that this is the lack of funds led to 714 engineering reasons. When Mao learned that programs need funding, he said things on earth should be the primary consideration. This plan greatly contraction. But in 1978 until the dawn of spacecraft design work has been the accumulation of large amounts of data.

Ultimately, the relevant circumstances reflected in the high level, and finally closed the "714 project", says lack of strength, not enough funding, the astronauts this beforehand pause, do a good job first thing on Earth, extraterrestrial matter back put up. Later, Zhou Enlai specifically on the development of China's manned space spoke a few principles, the overall mean, we do not engage with the US-Soviet space race, engage in nation-building much-needed application satellites. In this way, to 1972, "Dawning" manned spacecraft engineering development began to slow down, to the late 1970s, on the whole stopped, mainly retained the core technology of tracking, research and development.

The "714" project is of great historical and practical significance. Chinese astronauts in the development of the "Dawning" in the process made a lot of achievements, training a group engaged in ship design and technical team, breaking a number of key technologies, including heat-resistant materials research and screening, aerodynamic design, EVA space suits (spacesuit), space food development, pilot ejection, astronaut selection and training. Yuan Wang fleet of ocean-going measurement is established, space radar tracking stations and the establishment of related equipment as well as the development of proficiency. 1975 retrievable satellite was successfully tested for the spacecraft recovery technology, aerospace engineering in 1968 established the Institute of Medicine, and always insist on aerospace medicine and astronaut life support system. These work for our implementation of the "Shenzhou" manned space engineering ("921" project) done theoretically and technically prepared, laid a solid foundation.

September 21, 1992, the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau held an enlarged meeting officially approved manned spaceflight project feasibility report. Since that day, the China Manned Space Engineering officially approved, code-named "921 Project" - in the "Dawn" was stranded after 20 years, finally ushered in China's manned space voyage of the dawn.




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