China's new-generation space tracking ship Yuanwang-7 is sailing to the Atlantic Ocean for a satellite maritime monitoring mission.
The ship departed from a port of the China Satellite Maritime Tracking and Controlling Department in Jiangsu Province Thursday. It is the first time for Yuanwang-7 to carry out a mission in the Atlantic.
Only one ship of China's Yuanwang fleet, Yuanwang-3, so far has conducted missions in the ocean.
"This time the designated maritime area is remote and the route is new. We estimate that the vessel will sail in waves higher than 4 meters for over 10 days, a tougher journey than before," said Ni Liuguo, captain of the ship.
Before setting out, crew members were quarantined on the vessel and cabins were disinfected to prevent the novel coronavirus infection. They completed the preparation of medical supplies and examined facilities to ensure the success of the mission.
Yuanwang-7 was developed with the latest technologies in shipbuilding, space measurement and control, marine meteorology and shipping power.
Since it was put into use in 2016, Yuanwang-7 has made 13 voyages and performed 21 tasks in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, including maritime tracking of China's second space lab Tiangong-2, the Chang'e-4 lunar probe and BeiDou satellites.
China will have more than 40 space launches this year, and the Yuanwang fleet is expected to carry out intensive maritime monitoring missions.