China completes probe test for 2020 Mars mission amid coronavirus epidemic

EYEAFRICA TV: Beijing, China: China’s preparation work for its Mars exploration mission is going smoothly, as the Beijing Aerospace Control Center announced on Tuesday that it successfully completed a probe test for the mission.

The wireless network test is the only joint ground rehearsal between the mission center and the spacecraft, which comprehensively covered all of the plans, technical conditions, software and hardware systems, according to the center.

Amid the ongoing novel coronavirus epidemic, the technical staff have stepped up efforts to optimize the organization and coordination of the mission team, and applied a real flight control system as well as a real spacecraft to rehearse all the critical procedures during the test, which fulfilled all the tasks with desired effects.

“The test verified the correctness of the flight control plan, the reliability of the software and hardware systems, and the compatibility among different systems, which greatly pushed our preparation work forward. Next we will carefully summarize the experience and optimize our plan to lay a solid foundation for China’s first Mars exploration mission,” said Liu Jiangang, chief dispatcher in Beijing for the Mars exploration mission under the Beijing Aerospace Control Center.

As scheduled, China’s first Mars exploration mission will take place in 2020. The country plans to send a probe to orbit and land and deploy a rover on the planet. The probe will be launched by the Long March-5 carrier rocket.

Every 26 months, Mars reaches the closest point to Earth in its orbit, and the nearest launch window to Mars is this year, at which time launching a spacecraft will use the least amount of fuel.

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