Young people behind Chinas first space launch show: average age 33

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 Young people behind Chinas first space launch show: average age 33


After the successful launch mission at sea, all the sailors took a group photo. Map for China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology

Author: Qiu Chenhui, reporter of China Youth Daily and China Youth Network

Although its been two months, whenever Wang Fang, 31, recalls the vast blue Yellow Sea, his ear still rings with the sounds of boats, waves, sailorscalls and seagulls. In front of him is a launching platform larger than a standard football stadium, which looks like a capital letter from a distance. The word mountain.

It is here that Wang Fang and her experimental team created another first belonging to Chinas aerospace industry: on June 5, Chinas Long March 11 launch vehicle jumped up here and realized Chinas first offshore space launch. In the ensuing overwhelming news reports, one of the most significant statements about the first show of sea launching is that it not only fills the gap between domestic sea launching and international solid rocket launching, but also provides a new launching mode for China to enter space.

Little known is that behind the feat is a group of young people like Wang Fang, who are young commandos of the Changzheng 11 Launch Vehicle at sea launched by the Launch Vehicle Technology Research Institute of China Aerospace Science and Technology Group, with an average age of only 33 years.

Over the sea two months ago, it was these young people who made the rocket fly.

At that moment, they were China.

Not long ago, a reporter from China Youth Daily and China Youth Network approached the young team who had rewritten Chinas space history.

To encounter

Space, sea, youth... Looking back on the past days, for young people in the process of history, in the face of these exciting elements, they are not only nervous, but also excited.

On June 2, 30-year-old Zhang Feiting looked at the smaller and smaller ports and the people who were seeing him off. He took out his mobile phone to shoot and did not want to miss every moment in front of him. The general designer of the Long March 11 launch vehicle told reporters that this was a rare excitement since he joined Chinas space industry. Never thought that space and the sea could be so closely integrated!

Before the ship sailed to the reserved sea area and the signal lost connection, he received his wifes message: Dont jump around on the ship, be good. Zhang Feiting looked and looked at this commandment from Beijing and shed hot tears.

In the memory of the post-80s and post-90s generation, there is a well-known lyric: the love between seabirds and fish is only an accident. But the encounter between space flight and the sea is not an accident, or even a doomed encounter.

Why did you have to go through all the hardships to launch at sea? Jin Xin has been asked this question more than once. Jiuquan, Xichang, Taiyuan and Wenchang are well-known land launch sites. Why did they choose to go to sea? Jin Xin is still accustomed to start with safety issues: compared with traditional land launches, sea launches are far from densely populated areas, and launch sites and landing areas can be flexibly selected by sea navigation to effectively solve the safety problems of rocket and debris landing areas.

Of course, launching rockets at sea is not launching rockets from the sea, but standing on ships called launching platforms above the sea. For this time, the launch platform weighing 40,000 tons was towed to the pre-positioning of the Yellow Sea by the safeguard boat carried by the young test crew.

But soon, the initial excitement turned into scratching ones ears and scratching ones cheeks. Challenges have begun.

The first is the high salinity and humidity of the sea. Jiang Xun, general designer of launch support system for Long March 11 launch vehicle, said that for rocket, whether it is high salinity or high humidity, if the protection work is not handled properly, it will probably have a fatal impact on the equipment.

Standing on the launching platform, Jiang continued to point to the remote erecting system. The test team members must ensure its tightness every day. One is tight and the other is loose. Once the humidity is too high and the salinity is too high, rusting too soon will affect normal work.

In the evening, its very tidy here, and the waves are beating up. Standing on it, you can feel the water crashing, just like a rainstorm. Jiang continued.

Confronting the harsh sea environment has become a difficult problem for almost every post here. After all, the marine and terrestrial environments are completely different.

The launch moment of Long March 11 launch vehicle at sea. Map for China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology

Sea drift

4 days 30 square meters container

When launching rockets on land, the test crew often monitors the successful completion of the rocket mission through huge display screens and rows of computers in the launch command Hall of more than 100 square meters.

At sea, each system is jammed into a small container. Luton, 29, the chief designer of the Long March 11 launch vehicle telemetry system, pointed to the container behind him and said, Here is the measurement system, there is the control system, and in the distance is the measurement and control system. Look, its crowded in such a small room.

Therefore, the test team will only 30 square meters of sea launch command hall called mini command hall. The hall was refitted from three small containers, which opened the metal panels in the middle. After opening four windows, a small command hall gradually took shape.

The outer side of the container is painted white, with the words China Aerospace and China Launch Vehicle Technology Research Institute printed in blue. The entire command hall was placed in the bow of the support ship, where the test crew experienced their first sea drift in their lives.

In order to ensure the stability of sensitive equipment, the command hall operates air-conditioning dehumidification 24 hours a day, but the hum of indoor air-conditioning work is insignificant compared with the loud sound of outdoor ship anchorage.

Recalling this, Wang Fang chuckled: During the test before launching, the ship was surrounded by the launcher of Long March 11 launch vehicle at the foot for two to three kilometers, constantly adjusting the direction of the fore and aft of the signal ship, going back and forth dozens of times, in order to find the best position of the signal.

In this process, the command hall above the motor of the safeguard ship was completely caught up in the roar of the motor. The two people communicated either by whispering or roaring. With the huge noise, the deck of the protection ship, and the command hall above the deck, but also accompanied by a high frequency of shaking, the water in the cup on the table, under the sunlight, appears sparkling.

It is in such a relatively difficult command hall that the test team still likes to go, because there are the data they are most concerned about. Occasionally, from colleagues, they know that all systems are normal is the voice of heaven that they are most eager to hear when they are floating on the sea.

In danger

A satellite suddenly broke its promise

Regarding this feat, the media reported publicly that the Long March 11 launch vehicle successfully put seven satellites into orbit.

In fact, the planned number of satellites is eight. One of them, in the middle of the mission, break the appointment.

Near the eve of the launch of the Long March 11 launch vehicle, an instruction that a satellite on board could not be launched due to its sudden failure was transmitted to the sea launch test team.

What? The original eight stars with one arrow should be changed to seven stars with one arrow. Many test crew members were surprised that the satellite had completed the loading procedure and the flight procedure had been set. Now it is too late to change the flight data temporarily.

It was May 31, six days before the launch, but less than 48 hours before the rocket went to the sea. The whole development team is shrouded in a tense atmosphere.

Recalling the unexpected situation, Zhang Yanling, a young commando ballistic designer, said that temporary changes in state had brought small waves to the model team. There were only two ways to solve the problem. One was to start with hardware, open the fairing, remove the satellite and install the counterweight equipment; the other was to start with software. Cancel the separation command for the satellite.

The advantage of the first method is that the satellite can be retained, but a series of operations must be completed before the rocket is transported to the launcher. It takes at least four days for such a trip, and there are only four days left from the original launch window.

While we were discussing all kinds of possible solutions, Zhang Yanling offered to go back to Beijing to modify the data software on the arrow. She thought it was the best solution after analyzing all kinds of situations. But the time is very pressing, and it is only in every minute that the modification can be completed on time. Eventually, the scheme was approved by the model two general managers (commander in chief and designer in chief).

After learning about this decision, Zhang Yanling rushed back to Beijing overnight from the launch site and went straight to the unit to generate new data.

At 5:00 a.m. that day, she rushed to the launch site for pre-firing debugging immediately after the completion of the new data on the arrow. After the test, everything was normal, Zhang Yanlings suspended heart finally laid down.

By this time, she had worked for 40 hours in a row.

Youth

The journey is the stars and the sea

On June 3, after more than 20 hours of voyage, the fleet of the test team finally arrived at the scheduled sea area, and the launch platform also stopped above the corresponding sea level. But then suddenly there was a strong wind and waves.

Headache, nausea. Without the initial excitement, Zhang Feiting and his teammates, who first boarded the ship, became seasick one after another under the pinch of wind, wave and pressure.

The next morning, after a night of shaking, before dawn, many people went to the deck to observe the sea condition, because before 6 oclock, regardless of the sea condition, the staff had to board the launch platform.

At this point, the rocket launch is less than 30 hours away.

Chen Xi, 35, and her teammates endured seasickness on the launch platform. As the general deputy director of electrical design for Long March 11 launch vehicle, Chen Xis work is related to the pre-launch targeting of the rocket.

The difference is millimeter, the fallacy is thousands of miles. Once there is a deviation in the pre-launch aiming accuracy, the rocket will not be able to accurately orbit. Unlike previous aiming schemes, rockets launched at sea will inevitably be affected by wave fluctuations, which may cause the angle adjusted in the first second to be completely invalid in the next second - Man seasickness, Rockets will also be seasick.

This has brought unprecedented challenges to aiming design, and it is difficult to complete the design and test verification of the whole sea aiming scheme within 20 days. In the end, Chen Xi and his teammates designed the first dynamic self-aiming scheme for launch vehicle at sea within the prescribed time, and he himself became the initiator of the first dynamic self-aiming scheme for launch vehicle at sea in China.

In the traditional navigational and ship operations, there are few female crew members, but in this young commando team, there are three female heroes, who are post-85 or even post-90, who are accused by the General Design Department of Wang Fang, the Measurement System Designer of the General Design Department, Luton, and 12 guidance designers, Hu Shengman. In their view, even if the environment is any harder and worse, they can try to overcome, because the rockets that have to be tested by ourselves are the most reliable, and it is the greatest affirmation of their work to have the privilege of witnessing the Rockets designed by themselves fly into space at sea! At the moment when the Long March 11 launch vehicle ignited and took off and the sea and sky joined each other, the astronauts changed their way to the top of the sky, and their proud space journey became the real stars and the sea. Source: responsible editor of China Youth Daily: Wang Fengzhi_NT2541

In the traditional navigational and ship operations, there are few female crew members, but in this young commando team, there are three female heroes, who are post-85 or even post-90, who are accused by the General Design Department of Wang Fang, the Measurement System Designer of the General Design Department, Luton, and 12 guidance designers, Hu Shengman.

In their view, even if the environment is any harder and worse, they can try to overcome, because the rockets that have to be tested by ourselves are the most reliable, and it is the greatest affirmation of their work to have the privilege of witnessing the Rockets designed by themselves fly into space at sea!

At the moment when the Long March 11 launch vehicle ignited and took off and the sea and sky joined each other, the astronauts changed their way to the top of the sky, and their proud space journey became the real stars and the sea.