China awarded medals to the three Shenzhou-13 astronauts, or taikonauts, who had completed a historic six-month mission in the country’s under-construction space station from October 2021 to April 2022.
The awards were given by the Communist Party of China Central Committee, the State Council and the Central Military Commission.
Zhai Zhigang, the mission commander, and Wang Yaping, the first female taikonaut in China’s space station, were honored with second-class aerospace achievement medals, while Ye Guangfu received a third-class medal and the honorary title “heroic astronaut.”
The Shenzhou-13 mission was the second space mission for Zhai, who served as commander for the second time during the mission. He has performed extravehicular activities (EVAs) on three occasions, the most by any taikonaut so far. The flight was Wang’s second space mission and Ye’s first.
Read more: Profiles of China’s Shenzhou-13 crew members
Launched on October 16, 2021, the Shenzhou-13 spaceship sent the trio to China’s space station core module Tianhe, where they lived and worked for six months, the longest stay in space by taikonauts on a single mission.
During their stay in the space station, the crew verified key technologies, such as the in-orbit transposition of the spacecraft and robotic arm operation of heavy loads, accumulating valuable experience for the subsequent in-orbit assembly and construction of the space station.
Two EVAs were carried out by the crew. On November 7, 2021, Wang became the first female taikonaut to do a spacewalk.
Besides scientific missions, the crew also gave two live science lectures from the space station, during which they conducted various experiments and answered questions from students watching on Earth.
After a fruitful trip, the three returned safely to Earth on April 16.
China’s first bio-aviation kerosene producer trials clean energy production
China’s leading oil producer Sinopec announced the country’s first successful trial production of bio-aviation kerosene on Tuesday, marking China’s solid step towards large-scale commercial production of aviation biofuel.
The first trial production, conducted by Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Company, generated around 606 tonnes of bio-aviation kerosene, part of which will be supplied to airline companies.
Bio-aviation kerosene is produced from renewable resources such as waste cooking oil and animal and plant fat. Compared with traditional petroleum-based aviation fuel, the new biofuel can reduce CO2 emissions by over 50 percent or more throughout an airplane’s service cycle.
Self-developed high-tech project
In 2009, Sinopec started to conduct research on bio-aviation kerosene. It obtained China’s first bio-aviation kerosene airworthiness certificate in 2014, making it the first country in Asia and the fourth country in the world to have self-developed bio-aviation kerosene technology.
In August 2020, China built its first large-scale industrial plant for producing bio-aviation kerosene with a designed annual capacity of processing around 100,000 tonnes.
Huang Aibin, director of the Sinopec Zhenhai Refining and Chemical Company, told China Media Group (CMG) that “the amount of waste cooking oil recycled in a city with a 10 million population is about 10,000 tonnes per month. If runs at full capacity, this plant can almost digest all the recycled gutter oil of a city this size annually.”
Huang also mentioned the biggest difficulty is handling gutter oil as it contains a large number of fatty acid compounds, sulfur, chlorine, metal elements and other impurities, which are extremely difficult to remove. Huang’s team independently developed a special catalyst to optimize the processes of mixing, catalysis and heating.
According to data, if China replaces its current aviation kerosene of around 30 million tonnes aviation kerosene with biofuel, the country can reduce about 55 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equivalent to dropping driving over 30 million family economic cars for a whole year.
China launches 1st 2,000-tonne offshore wind farm installation vessel
Baihetan, China’s first 2,000-tonne offshore wind farm installation vessel, was launched on Wednesday in Guangzhou, south China’s Guangdong Province.
Built by China Three Gorges Corporation, the 126-meter-long, 50-meter-wide vessel has a full load displacement of 37,000 tonnes and integrates functions such as transport, self-elevation, self-propulsion, lifting and dynamic positioning.
With a maximum variable load of 6,500 tonnes and a deck area of 4,200 square meters, the vessel can be used for the installation of offshore wind turbines of up to 15 megawatts.
The vessel is able to lift goods as heavy as 2,000 tonnes and work underwater as deep as 70 meters, which greatly enhances the country’s construction and installation capacity in offshore deep-water and off-lying sea areas.
The construction of the vessel started in July 2021. It is expected to be delivered and put into operation within this year, and will be mainly operated in Guangdong and Fujian provinces, according to the company.
China’s new telecom carrier launches 5G services
China Broadnet, China’s fourth telecommunication operator, has formally launched 5G services.
The launch event held at the Museum of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was attended by Huang Kunming, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee.
The official website of China Broadnet, www.10099.com.cn, opened to the public on the same day. People can order new China Broadnet SIM cards on the site. The phone number will start with 192.
The website said the current commercial 5G service is still in the test phase, which means problems may occur to users, and the company won’t take responsibility for the consequences. The end date of the test phase has not been announced yet.
The company’s mobile service starts at 38 yuan (about $6) monthly, with 10 gigabytes of data and 50 minutes of voice calling, and goes as high as 588 yuan (about $88) with 398 GB data and 1,600 minutes of voice calling.
At this price, China Broadnet appears more cost-effective than China Mobile. But the established three carriers all offer many discounts to attract users.
The number in the website’s domain name, 10099, is also the company’s service phone number, which now provides 5G-related services.
No information about home broadband service can be found of the website as of Monday afternoon.
The service launch marks a breakthrough in the integration of national cable TV networks, and 5G integrated development and early successes in developing a new “cable plus 5G” integrated development paradigm for China’s radio and TV networks.
A key advantage of China Broadnet’s 5G is the 700 megahertz signal, which is better than the other three carriers’ services in signal strength.
Yet, the company has to build many base stations to cover the whole country. China Broadnet is cooperating with China Mobile to share base stations.
Also, the lower signal frequency will limit the max speed of China Broadnet’s 5G, which may not have a big impact on users’ choices since even 4G speed can satisfy most users for now.
With the 5G services’ launch, China Broadnet vows to speed up the development of a new-type radio and TV communication network, a national cultural network, and a national, new-type infrastructure network.
The company has rebranded as its current name and launched phone number reservations in early June.
China Broadnet was granted a 5G license for commercial use in 2019.
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