The flight Shenzhou-5

Sven Grahn

Shenzhou-5 was launched from JSLC at 01:00:03.497 UT on 15 October 2003.

Inflight events

The map below is an attempt to summarize known in-flight events and observations of the spacecraft from the ground. It is interesting to note that all "PR events" took place over the tracking ships. Perhaps the passes over China were devoted to technical discussions with Yang Liwei. The TV images of Yang Liwei must then have been relayed from the tracking ships via satellite to the Chinese mainland. According to Chinese media compressed digital video was used (2).


Radio systems of Shenzhou

Chinese media did provide some insight into the radio systems of Shenzhou-5:

" ..... in addition, the ultrashort-wave communication of "Shenzhou-5" will also be able to collect the physiological data from the
astronaut. ...."     To prevent sudden external interference jamming, this time "Shenzhou-5" spacecraft will also use seven different wave bands ..... in addition to transmitting data, the spacecraft will also use short wave, ultrashort wave, S-band, C-band as well as wave bands with different frequencies for transmission......" (1)

So, UHF was used for transmitting biomediacal telemetry it seems. Normally UHF means frequencies in the 300-1000 MHz range. S-band frequencies for transmitting telemetry from the craft is logical since the Malindi station operated by the Italian Space Agency ASI probably supports only S-band. C-band is the traditional Chinese TT&C frequency band. The use of shortwaves is interesting and it is obvious from pictures of the re-entry vehicle that shortwaves is used during the touchdown phase. Whether or not shortwaves is used on orbit is unknown.

The only illustration that could possibly indicate that there are shortwave transmitters in orbit can be found on the PLA Daily headline banner reprdoced below. The two whips at te bottoms of the service module couldpossibly be a real representation of antennas.

  1. Shenzhou-5 To Use Seven Wave Bands To Prevent Communication Interference, Hong Kong Wen Wei Po (Internet Version-WWW) in Chinese 11 Oct 2003
  2. E-mail message from Chen Lan 17 Oct 2003

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