China's second manned spacecraft, Shenzhou-6, is able to return in emergency at any time before the launch and during its flight as experts have worked out more than 150 countermeasures to cope with emergencies, a chief designer said in Beijing Friday.
Before the launch, the two taikonauts, or astronauts, aboard Shenzhou-6 can use the escape tower atop the carrier rocket or the high-speed lift or slideway to evacuate from the craft if any serious failure is detected, said Zhang Shuting, chief designer of the emergency and rescue system.
From lift-off to orbiting in space, eight rescue modes are designed when the craft flies in or outside the Earth aerosphere. The craft will have an emergency landing on Chinese land under the first five modes and somewhere on the sea east to China under the sixth mode.
The seventh mode allows the craft to return once it enters the preset orbit and land in the southwestern province of Sichuan, and the eighth will ensure the space vehicle to return to the primary landing area in Inner Mongolian, north China, after a one-day space flight.
One third of the software on board is designed for emergency rescue at times of failure such as power failure, module decompression, fire and temperature control fault.
Zhang and his colleagues have also designed several emergency return modes, which features different landing areas, the chief designer said.
He said China has chosen 13 areas for possible landing of the capsule, including some in other countries and regions such as Australia, the Pan-Arabic region, North Africa, West Europe, the United States and South America.