Yuanwang-7, China’s new generation space tracking ship, was launched Tuesday, the country’s official Xinhua News Agency reported. The vessel will carry out maritime tracking of the planned manned spaceflight Shenzhou-11 and other space missions later this year.
The vessel was launched after a 60-day trial period, according to Xinhua. The vessel, whose construction began in October 2014, is 220 meters long and 40 meters high. It can withstand typhoons and can carry supplies for 100 days, Xinhua reported, citing an official statement.
China currently has seven Yuanwang space tracking ships and they have performed about 70 expeditions. The report added that these vessels have traveled over 1.5 million nautical miles in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
Meanwhile, Shenzhou-11’s launch is expected to be in October. The spaceflight will carry two astronauts to dock with Tiangong-2, China’s second orbiting space lab scheduled to be launched in the fall.
In March, Zhang Bonan, chief designer of the manned spacecraft system of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp., said that one of the major functions of the Shenzhou-11 mission is to carry out a middle-length residence experiment, People’s Daily reported.
Previously, Shenzhou-10 had the longest stay of 15 days in space. But, for Shenzhou-11 the astronauts are expected to complete a 30-day stay in orbit.