Black box in manned spacecraft
2005-10-13 02:32:33 Xinhua English

BEIJING, Oct. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- China's second manned spacecraft Shenzhou-6 is equipped with an emergency data recorder, or black box as it is nicknamed, with higher capacity and smaller size.

Wang Jiulong, a senior designer in charge of the data management sub-system for the spacecraft system, said the box actually in orange is fixed under the astronaut's seat.

The device will remain in good condition if it is burned for 30 minutes in a temperature of 1,000 degrees Celsius or soaked in seawater for one month. It can resist the impact of 10,000 g (acceleration of gravity), Wang said.

The black box aboard Shenzhou-6 is 17 cm long, 10 cm wide and 20 cm high, but less than half the size of the one in Shenzhou-5, China's first piloted spaceship. The data storage capacity of the new gadget is increased 100 times, according to Wang.

The recorder is used to store major data in spacecraft flight, including pressure, temperature and humidity inside the capsule, spaceship flying posture, working conditions of different equipment and astronaut's operation at related meters and instruments.

In comparison with an aircraft's flight record device that remains "useless" without mechanical failures or other accidents, the black box in Shenzhou-6 will also record the spacecraft's normal flight, particularly its return to the Earth, according to Wang.

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