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Primary landing site ready to greet taikonauts back
www.chinaview.cn 2005-10-14 18:49:42

    SIZIWANG BANNER, Inner Mongolia Oct. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- The primary landing area for China's orbiting manned spacecraft Shenzhou-6 to return has been prepared well and is poised to welcome the two taikonauts (Chinese term of astronauts) aboard the vehicle back home.


    Siziwang Banner (county) remains unknown to most Chinese if Shenzhou-6's primary landing area was not sited there. The county is located in the Ulanqab League (prefecture) of north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and is about 150 km north of the regional capital, Hohhot. The county used to be fief of four descendents of a brother of Genghis Khan.

    Wulanhua Town, at which the county government is seated, covers a total area of around 24,000 square kilometers with a population of 200,000. About 60 km north of Wulanhua Town, there is a vast, smooth pasture named Amugulang in Hongger Township, which has beendesignated as the primary landing area for Shenzhou-6. In Mongolian language, "hongger" means gentle place and "mugulang", safely.

    Along with the blastoff of manned spacecraft, residents at Wulanhua have begun to call their hometown "Shenzhou-6's home", with hotel business becoming robust as against the looming return of the spacecraft's re-entry module.


    A special highway for recovery of experimental equipment aboard the Shenzhou-6 opened to traffic on Friday morning, which is believed to be able to make the recovery process more efficient.

    The 64.69-km-long road links Wulanhua Town and Hongger Township. Construction began in October 2004 and finished on Sept.15, 2005.Shortening drive between the two places from more than two hours to 40 minutes, the highway will not only be used for experimental-equipment recovery, but also contribute to development of local tourism and grassland economy.


    At Hongger Township there is a red three-storey building, at which the headquarters of landing-site troop is located. It is China's only troop for satellite and manned spacecraft recovery, according to Yao Feng, head of the unit.

    Formed 36 years ago, the troop has since accomplished recovery of five spaceships and 21 satellites. More than 300 people have been organized for the upcoming recovery of the Shenzou-6's re-entry module, Yao said. When there is no task for the troop, however, only 12 people left at the least to take care of related equipment in the landing area, Yao added.

    South of the red building, on the grassland eight helicopters array. The aircraft, in yellow and green, will be responsible for searching for Shenzhou-6's re-entry module. Colonel Yuan Shuili, with a flight record of more than 3,000 hours, will pilot the first rescue helicopter and land it at around 50 meters from the planned landing spot of the capsule.

    Wang Zhichao, the 26-year-old head of the troop's radar team, keeps gazing at the monitor of wind changes near the ground. Wang said if the wind blows at a speed faster than 10 meters per secondat a height of 100 meters above the ground, it will unsuitable forthe re-entry module to land.

    Li Yonghui, head of the troop's meteorological team, told Xinhua on Friday,"In the coming few days, weather conditions at the primary landing area will be basically suitable for the taikonauts to return."


    "We should prepare well for the most dangerous situation,"said Sui Qisheng, who serves for the first time as the chief commander of the landing system at large.

    All parts of the whole landing system have started since the Shenzhou-6 blasted off on Wednesday morning, Sui added.

    The system, huge and rigorous, virtually involves about 10,000 workers, directly and indirectly. They include experienced pilots,doctors, drivers of various special vehicles, telecom experts, meteorologists, divers and rescuers.

    Sui considers taikonauts' possible return at night the biggest challenge. Night rescue drillings have been completed on the primary landing area, Sui added.

    According to Colonel Zhang Zhenglin, a pilot of the above-mentioned helicopters, each of the copters have been equipped with a night vision device.

    "The manned space program is just like a relay race, the landing system is like the runner for the last baton,"said Sui Qisheng. Enditem

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