China’s new generation of manned spacecraft in space: eight experiments carried out, 988 “passengers”

On May 8, 2020, at 13:49, the return module of China’s new generation manned spacecraft successfully landed in the predetermined area of the Dongfeng landing site, and the test was a complete success. The test ship was launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Site on May 5 at 18:00 aboard the Long March V B carrier rocket and flew in orbit for 2 days and 19 hours, verifying key technologies such as high-speed re-entry of a new generation of manned spacecraft to return heat protection, control, group umbrella recovery and partial reuse.

In addition, the test ship also carried a lot of “passengers”, carried out new technology, new products in-orbit verification. Let’s take a look!

A new generation of manned spacecraft

Experiments on the frictional behavior of space liquid lubrication materials

There must be wear and tear for movement, such as common mechanical motion mechanism, its components due to relative movement is bound to friction and wear, the formation of a friction product called grinding chips, often accumulated near the moving site, and may be contaminated with the surrounding surface.

In satellites, spacecraft, space stations, this phenomenon is also unavoidable.

In order to reduce wear and tear on moving parts and extend the service life of moving parts, it is often necessary to lubricate the frictional surfaces of moving parts with lubricants, grease, or solid lubrication.

The test ship is equipped with a “material friction behavior experimental device”, with the liquid and solid liquid composite lubrication material used by the motion mechanism of the space station in China as the research object, and in orbit verifies the wetting behavior of different surface profiles and different functional surfaces under microgravity environment, as well as the creeping and migration laws of forming friction products under frictional chemistry, which provides theoretical guidance for the development of high-reliable, long-life space lubrication system, and also provides basic data for the long-term analysis and diagnosis of the station’s long-term operational fault diagnosis.

Second, wide-range multi-precision space microgravity acceleration measurement technology test

Manned spacecraft in orbit, will be disturbed by a variety of forces outside the gravity of the earth, such as atmospheric resistance, solar radiation light pressure, gravity gradient effect, orbit maneuvering, attitude control, equipment operation, occupant activities, etc., so as not to achieve a complete “weightlessness” state, but a “microgravity” environment.

“Microgravity” is a deviation from weightlessness, and its size can be measured by the acceleration value of the interference force of the spacecraft.

In order to grasp and eliminate the effect of various interferences on the load of internal science experiments in spacecraft, and to provide the required experimental environment of high microgravity level for scientific experiments, it is necessary to accurately measure the microgravity level of scientific experimental load.

The mission carried out three different types of acceleration measurement technology tests in microgravity environment, such as wide range, wide band and multi-resolution, to verify the functional performance of the space station’s high-microgravity experimental cabinet suspension experimental system and the active vibration measurement module in the fluid physics laboratory system, to ensure that the formal productmeets the mission requirements, and also to provide technical reserves for high-precision microgravity measurement in space for the future.

Third, time-triggercontrol electronic system test

Using the design of a new generation integrated electronic information architecture, through flight test, verify the adaptability of the system in the space environment, as well as global time series distribution, time-sharing data flow scheduling, high-capacity data high security and reliable transmission, etc., to provide technology and data accumulation for the development of new spacecraft electrical systems such as new generation manned spacecraft.

Four, leak collision detection system test

Through the collection of the acoustic signal background of the wall structure of the new generation manned spacecraft, as well as the detection of simulated collision and leakage acoustic signal, the algorithm of manned spacecraft in orbit leakage and collision positioning, as well as the performance of sound sensor and leak collision detector in orbit, provide skilled reserves for the subsequent manned spacecraft in orbit leakage and collision positioning.

Inside the test cabin

V. Fiber grating sensing system test

By using the temperature and strain two kinds of fiber grating sensors located in the new generation manned spacecraft test ship, obtain the temperature and strain status of the test ship in the real flight environment, verify the feasibility of the fiber-optic grating sensor applied to spacecraft condition monitoring, and provide basic data for the optimal design of spacecraft structure.

Six, metal / ceramic materials in the rail high-precision molding experiment

In the course of human exploration into space, the “supply line problem” of equipment and materials has been preventing people from flying farther into space.

With the rapid development of space 3D printing technology, it is possible to achieve “self-sufficiency” of spacecraft components.

In order to further enhance the manufacturing accuracy and expand the material lineage that can be used for space manufacturing, this experiment for space weightlessness environment to prepare sub-micron fine soft material material (metal ceramic material), by adjusting its rheological properties, in orbit to complete the precise control of material form, to achieve the first high-precision space (surface roughness 0.2um) three-dimensional photolithography material manufacturing technology verification, for China’s three-dimensional lithograph material manufacturing application and development to provide technical reserves.

Seven, based on metal 3D printing technology cube-star deployer

The test ship is equipped with a cubic star deployer, using the most advanced metal 3D printing technology in the world, the latest 3D printing design optimization algorithm and materials, greatly reducing the design weight, improve the structural strength.

This flight verifies the structural strength, material performance and space environment adaptability of the new 3D-printed deployer of Cubic Star, and provides data and reserves the technology for the large-scale application of “3D printing and spaceflight” and the future space station in orbit release and mobile deployment of the micro-nano satellite.

Eight, microbial oil-mining bacteria carrying experiments

The test ship was carrying a microbial oil-mining strain from East China University of Technology.

Microbial oil recovery is a new technology that uses the beneficial activities of microorganisms themselves or the metabolic biosurfactants to improve crude oil recovery and extend the life of oil field development.

Experiments use space extreme environment to mutage the original wild strains, which are expected to obtain mutant strains with strong specificity, more prominent performance and industrial application value.

In addition, since the Shenzhou 1 mission, each flight test mission has arranged an experimental carrying project, has carried the characteristic flowers, wild bacteria, Traditional Chinese medicine, cash crops and other nearly 100 varieties of seeds, branches, bacteria, to promote the development of the space biotechnology industry.

Space Breeding Base

Dragon bile grass on Shenzhou 10

The mission test ship flew in orbit for about 67 hours, orbiting about 300-8000 km, and through the Van Allen radiation belt, during which the total radiation dose and microgravity environment received were different from those experienced by the shenzhou spacecraft and Tiangong laboratory, providing an unprecedented and valuable opportunity for space radiation biology research, space mutagenic and space breeding research and experiments.

Therefore, the test ship also arranged 75 space breeding, space biology and other related experimental projects.

Among them, there are local government projects with strategic cooperation with China’s manned space engineering office, such as Yunnan Province, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, and special projects recommended by the China Aerospace Breeding Industry Innovation Alliance, covering experimental devices for crops, forest and grass flowers, Chinese herbal seeds and biosspecies, as well as samples of model plants and model animals of great scientific value for basic research, carrying a total of 988 samples.

Some of the seeds on board the test ship