TJU Alumni in Chang’e-5 Space Mission


On December 17, China’s Chang’e-5 lunar probe successfully touched down in north China’s Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, marking the success of the whole lunar exploration journey that started more than twenty days ago at Wenchang Space Launch Center that launched the Long March 5 heavy-lift carrier rocket.

Three TJU alumni are among the thousands of talents who dedicate their love and passion to the country’s space exploration.

Liu Shigang: pave path for lunar exploration in the ocean of data

Liu Shigang graduated from Tianjin University’s School of Electrical and Information Engineering in 2012. He is now an engineer at Wenchang Command & Control Station I and responsible for central computer subsystems. In Chang’e-5 mission, he played the role as a subsystem commander.

Being the pivot of the whole space launch site, the central computer system can be regarded as the brain for information exchange and data gathering.

At the beginning of his career at the launch center, Liu first studied space equipment in factories and got engaged in installation and debugging of central computers and comprehensive flight inspections. He witnessed the development of the Wenchang space launching center. In the early days, as the primary operator of the exchanger equipment, he completed the installation and debugging of dozens of space exchangers locating at the central computer room as well as in the command and display hall. During the launching task of Long March 3 carrier rocket last December, he found the bug in the exchanger system that hindered central computers from receiving multicast information from other equipment and then solved the problem by upgrading the system. His efforts contributed to the task’s success.

In the mission of Long March 5B this May, overcoming the difficulty brought by Covid-19 pandemic, Liu took on the preparatory work on his own and tackled the fault in exchanger hardware and guaranteed the smooth transition to the next step. So far, he has participated over 20 space launching missions including the Long March 5B and the Tianwen-1.

Liu Shigang has been committed to scientific research and innovation. Currently, the central computer system adopts the hot backup with two sets of servers to ensure system reliability. However, time needed for addressing the problem is unpredictable when both the major and backup servers fail at the same time. To fix the problem, Liu built a cloud platform system that helps realize a system-level heterogeneous backup and was able to restore server data in 3 minutes.

Wang Zhixia: a “photographer” to capture Chang’e-5’s charisma

Wang Zhixia graduated from Tianjin University in July 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in measurement and control technology and instrument. She is now an assistant engineer in the Wenchang Command and Control StationII. She has held the post of system data interaction and control and was once in charge of the large-aperture optical recording in Tongguling measurement and control area. In Chang’e-5 mission, she served as the subsystem commander for the first time.

Because of its unique geographical position, Tongguling measurement and control area provides first-hand data of rocket takeoffs and the initial flight stage for rockets launched from the Wenchang Space Launch Center. It plays a key role in the country’s lunar exploration project.

To ensure the successful completion of the task, Wang Zhixia has required to be stationed at the front line since September for preparation work and equipment modification.

Wang Zhixia has also been engaged in programs like measurement and control image fusion, the development of moving target tracking simulator, and the real-time generation of the light trail of rocket and display system. In addition, she has passed the internal auditor examination, and served as a quality supervisor in previous tasks to guarantee proper personnel practice and document correctness.

Li Yuanmiao: to become the first female control and dispatch commander

Li Yuanmiao graduated from Tianjin University with a bachelor’s degree in Optoelectronic Technology Science in July 2006. In the same year, she was admitted to the Aerospace Engineering University as a postgraduate, studying Communication and Information Systems.

Working at the HainanWenchang Space Launch Center,Li is learning the control and dispatch command of the Control Station. In the next space launch of Chang’e-5 mission, Li Yuanmiao will act as the station’s control and dispatch commander.

Li Yuanmiao’s first post at the station was to conduct image interpretation produced by high-speed photography equipment. She must complete pixel-accurate image interpretation of thousands of images captured from the moment the rocket was ignited until it cleared off the tower. After less than half a year’s hard work, Li met the demands of the Central console post and began to serve as the commander of the high-speed photography subsystem. She did a wonderful job in the Mars exploration mission ofTianwenIand the launching of Long March-5B carrier rocket.

Because of her outstanding performance, Li Yuanmiao was entrusted with the task of control and dispatch command which is responsible for the organization, command and coordination of the control equipment after working for merely one year. This position is highly demanding. Li is required to be familiar with the various control equipment and the process of task organization and implementation, and skillful enough to deal with any emergency in on-going missions.

In Chang’e-5 mission, as a following post learner and the dispatch commander assistant, Li Yuanmiao was responsible for monitoring a number of tracking equipment. She is well on the way to become a woman control and dispatch commander at the space center.

By Chen Xu, Wu Mengqi & Lv Ximin