At 12:41 p.m. on July 23, the Long March 5 Y4 launch vehicle carrying China’s self-developed Mars probe was successfully launched from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in China. This is China’s first Mars exploration mission and marks the first step in China’s planetary exploration.
In the Tianwen-1 Mars exploration mission, a series of products developed and produced by CASIC, including phased array sensors, high-performance crystal components, electrical connectors and battery packs, nano-aerogel materials, lander unlocking and separating devices, and Mars rover suspension deceleration self-locking devices, will play an important role in the process of orbiting, landing and roving on Mars.
China’s planetary exploration project is named “Tianwen series” and the first Mars exploration mission named Tianwen-1. The Tianwen-1 mission consists of six stages: launch, Earth–Mars transfer, Mars capture, Mars orbit parking, deorbit and landing, and scientific exploration, aiming to realize “orbiting, landing and roving” on Mars in one process. Tianwen-1 will arrive at Mars about 7 months after successful launch and then land on the surface of Mars 2-3 months later to kick off its exploration mission. The exploration mission will mainly focus on the surface topography, soil properties, material composition, water-ice, atmosphere, ionized layer and magnetic field of Mars, realizing the technological leap of China in the field of deep space exploration.
In this launch mission, organizations affiliated to CASIC have undertaken the R&D and production of the Long March 5 launch vehicle and key products in the ground system.
For example, Aerospace Measurement & Control Technology Co., Ltd. affiliated to China Aerospace Science & Industry Information Technology Academy has provided a variety of ground-based TM&TC equipment for the launch vehicle, and performed real-time “soundness monitoring” for such equipment during test, transfer and launch of the launch vehicle. The two fixed pulse instrumentation radars, developed by No. 23 Institute of the Second Academy, can provide real-time accurate coordinate information (such as distance, azimuth and pitch) and radial velocity data of the launch vehicle at the ascending section during the launch, to closely track the flight path of the launch vehicle. The high-performance composite thermal insulation products, developed by No. 306 Institute of the Third Academy, can effectively protect the electronic and electrical equipment around the gas pipeline of the rocket engine. The hydrogen turbine pump, manufactured by No. 111 Factory of the Third Academy, can provide high-power hydraulic energy for the servo mechanism of liquid hydrogen/oxygen engine of the launch vehicle. In addition, the launch vehicle is also equipped with thousands of electrical connectors, relays, fans and motors provided by Guizhou Space Appliance Co., Ltd., anti-freezing and cold-resistant space-based TM&TC batteries provided by Guizhou Meiling Power Supply Co., Ltd., tens of thousands of pipeline connectors, and special pipelines and valves of various models provided by No. 695 Factory of Henan Aerospace Industry Corporation, and tens of thousands of high-performance fasteners provided by Aerospace Precision Products Co. Ltd. All these have provided support for this launch mission.