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Ship retires from China's maritime satellite-tracking fleet


08:41, December 15, 2011

NANJING, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- "Yuan Wang No.4" has been retired from China's oceangoing instrument fleet Wednesday, after successfully carrying out a series of offshore missions for tracking long-range rocket carriers, satellites and space vehicles since 1999, according to military sources.

The oceangoing measuring vessel was known as "Xiang Yang Hong No. 10" until Aug. 1998, when it joined the fleet attached to the China Satellite Maritime Tracking and Controlling Department, under the General Equipment Department of the Chinese People's Liberation Army.

In Feb. 1999, it became "Yuan Wang No.4", and in Oct. 1999, made an oceangoing maiden voyage as far as the Indian Ocean, when China launched its Shenzhou-1 spaceship.

Over the past decade, Yuan Wang No.4 has taken part in 14 major offshore tracking projects, including 12 oceangoing expeditions, six voyages to the Indian Ocean and another six in the Pacific, covering a total of 180,000 sea miles.

So far, three members of the maritime tracking fleet have been retired. They include Yuan Wang No. 1, now on display at the museum of its manufacturer -- the Jiangnan Shipyard, and Yuan Wang No.2, now anchored at the dock of the China Satellite Maritime Tracking and Controlling Department, as an exhibition center and a mobile office for the department.

Yuan Wang No. 3, 5 and 6 remain in service for the oceangoing satellite tracking fleet.

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