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Bidding astronauts bon voyage from Gobi Desert

Adam Layaan Kurik Riza

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Deng Xiaojun, a college graduate, joined the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert in northwest China in 2003. He felt the thrill of launching China’s first astronaut, Yang Liwei, into space with his employment code 212. Deng is code zero eighteen years later, with the high-profile duty of directing the countdown to ignition for the crewed mission Shenzhou-12.

“Code zero is a team, not a number,” Deng remarked, stressing that the team has shared the responsibility and joy of China’s space missions for years.

The Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center has performed important launch missions, including 12 Shenzhou series spaceships, as a home port for China’s space exploration, establishing the most reliable and safe spaceport for Chinese astronauts. Throughout the night, lights flare at the car manufacturing factory deep in the Badain Jaran Desert in northwestern China. Engineers are working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get China ready for its next space mission. From entering the launch site until blast-off, a crewed space mission goes through more than ten steps, requiring hundreds of thousands of parts and components, according to Zheng Yonghuang, the launch center’s head engineer.

Staff members begin testing and evaluating equipment and facilities three months before each launch, according to Zheng. How long does a fuse last, even if it’s a minor component? When was the last time you used it? When do you think it’s time to replace it? “We need to think of every possible response.”

“When people start applauding a good launch, it’s time to gather lessons for future enhancements,” Zheng added.

 Shi Chuangfeng is in charge of using cranes to lift the rockets. “When raising a rocket, we must simultaneously align and attach dozens of bolts. There aren’t any shortcuts available. You have no choice but to keep training.”

Shi has devised his own method of self-training, which involves attaching a welding rod to a crane and driving it to put the rod into a beer bottle. Shi and his coworkers may now use the crane arm to insert a chopstick and pour wine in the same way they can with their hands.

The weather crew and the launch center share the same birthdate. The weather in the Gobi Desert is notoriously fickle, making it difficult to launch or land missions.

It was vital to ensure that there was no adverse weather at the landing site during the Shenzhou-12 crew’s return, like as lightning or rainstorms. The average ground wind speed must not exceed 15 m/s, and the high-altitude wind could not exceed 70 m/s. With no precipitation, the visibility had to be at least 10 kilometers.

The weather team began analyzing land climate data 50 days before the return, creating estimates for the expected conditions on the return, according to the weather team.

Mobile weather radars were on duty at each station thirty days before the return, and they devised an emergency response plan for the return. The weather team visited with local meteorological stations 20 days before the event.

They provided daily projections for six sites relevant to the landing spot seven days before their return, and consultations were held twice a day. The forecasts were improved to hourly within 48 hours of returning. The team provided forecasts every three hours until the three astronauts of the Shenzhou-12 mission arrived safely at the Dongfeng landing site on Sept. 17.

Deng claimed that for the previous 18 years, he has seen every launch from the launch site, from the control center to the rooftop of his home, from the Gobi Desert to a local bridge called Shenzhou. In 2014, he quit the launch team. It seemed like a family reunion when he returned to work in 2017.

“You stand at the window and smell something familiar; it’s the first stage engine of the rocket; it’s wonderful to see my family again.”

 

Source: Xinhua News Agency

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MPS still under Home Minister: PO

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President’s Office on Tuesday stated that though Maldives Police Service (MPS) is now operating as an independent entity, the Home Minister is still the responsible figure for the agency.

Following the ratification and implementing of MPS Act, MPS would function as an independent entity, with various internal governing bodies. The Home Minister will be responsible for overseeing the body but will have no control over day to day operations.

Confusion reigned supreme following a letter sent by President’s Office to the Home Affairs, stating that MPS would function as an independent entity effective from March 27, 2021. The letter also stated the Ministry’s functions and roles following this decision.

Clause 242 of the Constitution mandates that all government and government associated agencies be overseen by a Minister.

The statement issued by President’s Office said that Home Minister Sheikh Imran would still oversee the agency.

In response to the change, Minister Imran tweeted that ‘challenges’ were natural and expected. He added that success was in perseverance.

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Tourism Ministry sets three-year period for resorts to open

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Minister of Tourism Dr Abdullah Mausoom has revealed that the Ministry intends to automatically revoke the islands leased for resort development, if the developers fail to open the property within a three-year period.

Speaking to local newspaper, Mihaaru, the Minister revealed that this was already in the plans and a new agreement will be signed based on this principle.

Statistics by Tourism Ministry in 2020, show that over 50 resorts were still under development, with parties filing to extend the permits for 21 islands. Some of the leased islands have been listed as under development for over 10 years.

This, he said, was being implemented to urge developers to finish developing the property and begin operations. Minister Mausoom noted that most citizens living close to islands under development had raised their concerns over delays.

The Minister had previously said that Tourism sustained severe losses due to the pandemic. While the sector aims to bring in 1.3 million tourists, there are several challenges including a new mutation of the delta strain detected in the UK and limitations of the airport to cater for arrivals.

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U23 national team departs for Bahrain

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The under 23 national football team has departed to Bahrain for training ahead of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

The qualifiers will be held in Uzbekistan from the 27th to the 31st of this month.

The team is accompanied by Assistant Coaches Sabah Mohamed and Mohamed Shahid. They will play two practice matches in Bahrain before heading to straight to qualifiers in Uzbekistan. The team had also carried out successful training camps in the atolls.

Maldives will face off against Iraq on 27th October, against Bahrain on 29th October, and Afghanistan on 31st October.

Competing nations are divided into 11 groups. First place winners will go into the Asian Cup. Additionally, four top-performing teams from the second placed nations will proceed to the Cup.

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