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Background: China's Long March 2-F rocket

09-28-2011 18:46 BJT Special Report:Tiangong I - China's first space rendezvous and docking task |

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The Long March 2-F is the carrier rocket for China’s manned space program as well as the Tiangong 1 mission. It’s currently the tallest, heaviest and most powerful rocket in the Chinese space program. To lift the 8-ton space laboratory Tiangong 1 into orbit, the rocket has been fitted with an array of new technologies.

Developed on the basis of Long March 2-E, the Long March 2-F marked a great advancement in the reliability of Chinese rocketry. The new fault monitoring and diagnosis system, as well as the escape system mean improved safety for Chinese astronauts.

The fault monitoring and diagnosis system keeps an eye out for trouble before the aircraft enters orbit. If any systems failures are detected, it signals the astronauts to suspend the mission and escape from the vessel. As they evacuate, the system controls the timing sequence of the escape capsule and other essential operations.

The launch of Tiangong 1 will be unmanned, so the two systems will not be used this time around. But they’ll get their first real test when the Shen-Zhou 8 mission is launched later this year.

The Long-March 2-F, has also been fitted with a "double indemnity" system, providing back-ups to major operations in case of a malfunction. The rocket’s reliability rate is 97%, while it’s safety rate is estimated at 99.7%. The rocket has undergone extensive testing, and China is confident in its safety and strong propulsion capabilities.

China began developing the Long March 2-F rocket in 1992 and it made its first successful flight in November 1999.

Editor:Xiong Qu |Source: CNTV.CN

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