China's best-equipped ocean rescue ship, berthed at Shanghai's Waigaoqiao dock is poised to carry out contingency recovery of manned spacecraft Shenzhou VII. [Photo: Xinhuanet]
China's best-equipped ocean rescue ship, Nanhai Rescue 112, left Shanghai Waigaoqiao dock at 2 PM on September 21, headed for the western Pacific Ocean on a mission to carry out contingency recovery of the manned spacecraft Shenzhou VII, according to a source with Shanghai Waigaoqiao border control department.
The ocean recovery, an important part of the landing of the manned spaceship, will go into operation in case of any rocket malfunction after liftoff. Should a problem occur, the spacecraft can return according to a prearranged program and splashdown within a designated area of the ocean, awaiting the rescue ship which will save the astronauts and carry out any necessary search and salvage work.
The refitting and recommissioning work for the ship having been completed, a rescue drill was conducted at the mouth of the Yangtze River on Wednesday afternoon.
According to the China Satellite Maritime Tracking and Control Department, five surveying ships are stationed at pre-planned spots in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean to survey the area for Shenzhou VII.
Additionally, rescue helicopters from the Ministry of Transport together with two other rescue fleets have been dispatched to join the space mission.
(China.org.cn by He Shan September 22, 2008)