zero distance

Reach the top of Mount Everest

my country sets a world record of 9,032 meters for atmospheric scientific observation by airship

  This is the most breath-taking moment.

  At 1:26 on May 15, my country's self-developed Jimu-1 III floating craft was launched for the third time.

In the monitoring cabin on the beach near the Mount Everest Atmospheric and Environmental Comprehensive Observation and Research Station of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (hereinafter referred to as the Mount Everest Station), the scientific expedition team members stared at the numbers in front of the screen, and the altitude and wind speed values ​​continued to rise.

  At this time, it has been 3 years since the last world record of 7,003 meters above sea level for scientific observation by the liftoff of the floating craft.

This time, the floating air craft expedition team set the goal to "beyond Mount Everest".

At 4:26, a trembling voice came from the walkie-talkie, "9,000 meters above sea level!" The glacier valley, which was completely silent, burst into warm cheers for a while.

  At 4:40, it reached 9032 meters!

Jimu-1 once again created a world record for the altitude of atmospheric scientific observation by airship.

  "This is the world's first test that surpasses the height of Mount Everest, and it is a fusion of high-tech and cutting-edge technology." Yao Tandong, leader of the second Qinghai-Tibet scientific expedition team and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, said that scientific observation has entered an advanced mode, which can be used in At an altitude of more than 9,000 meters, we can observe the changing characteristics of the most critical parameters such as water vapor and greenhouse gases in earth science. "These achievements will definitely contribute to the development of human society and the global response to climate change."

"Flying" on Mount Everest

  There is a fish in Beiming, and its name is Kun.

  The top of Mount Everest is alpine.

Jimu-1 III floating craft is like a "big white whale" "flying" above Mount Everest.

He Zeqing, a senior engineer at the Aeronautical Center of the Aerospace Information Innovation Research Institute of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (hereinafter referred to as the Aerospace Institute), who serves as the executive captain of the airship scientific research team, is a post-80s generation. His job is to make this "whale" soaring. And on the 90,000 li, there is absolutely no cloud energy and negative blue sky.

  Taming a "whale" is easier said than done.

In the high altitude of Mount Everest, the wind speed is high, the wind direction is changeable, the temperature is low, and the air pressure is low. During the lift-off of the floating craft, once the altitude of 7,000 meters is exceeded, the unknown electromagnetic environment and wind field will affect the floating craft. The stability of the boat and the operation of the equipment on the boat will bring unpredictable challenges.

  "Problems encountered in actual tests are often isolated points, which can easily affect the success or failure of the system." Zhang Taihua, director of the second department of the aerostat center, said that from the design to the test stage, the pre-planning work has become extremely important.

  Huang Wanning, a senior engineer at the Aerospace Center, drew an analogy. Like ordinary people flying a kite, in the aerostat system, the main mooring cable is an important part for pulling the motion of the aerostat.

Assuming that the airship "flyed" to an altitude of 9,000 meters above sea level, the length of the main mooring cable would exceed more than 4,700 meters, and the weight of each meter of the mooring cable would add up to a huge number, and it would even become a drag on the airship. Empty "burden".

  "There is a famous saying in the aviation industry, strive to reduce every gram." Huang Wanning explained that there must be enough safety margin to ensure the tensile strength, and it is difficult to balance "height" and "weight".

The development of lightweight and high-strength composite mooring cable technology is a difficult breakthrough.

  Not only that, but there are scientific mysteries behind the shape, appearance and skin color of this "big beluga whale".

  The whole body of the floating airship is snow-white, and the outermost white layer can reflect sunlight and avoid the drastic changes in the temperature of the gas inside the floating airship. It is 9060 cubic meters and about 55 meters in length. It has a streamlined posture like a whale. Using the bionic design concept, it can maintain the high stability of the hull at high altitudes.

  To make the floating craft "walk against the wind", its "body" is filled with various gases such as helium, and relies on the buoyancy of the floating gas to obtain lift-off power. Airship lift-off and airborne missions.

  In Dr. Du Xiaowei's impression, in a certain airship test in May 2019, the inflation operation encountered a blizzard, and the inflation process could not be interrupted once started. Working in an environment approaching zero degrees Celsius while breathing in your hands.

The inflation time that time was as long as 12 hours, and when they returned to the cabin, everyone's fingers could not be stretched.

  Some people ask, why must the floating craft be "released" on Mount Everest?

  Huang Wanning gave an explanation: the climate and environmental changes of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau to the rest of the world, "a single trigger can affect the whole body."

Floating craft can remove the influence of surface radiation, carry out in-situ measurements, and provide the most realistic and accurate data, which is of great significance for analyzing the sources of greenhouse gases, analyzing the causes of haze, and emergency communications.

Nine Upper Plateau

  400 meters to the southeast of Mount Everest Station is the camp of the floating airship scientific research team.

The camp is 300 meters long from north to south and 200 meters wide from east to west. 28 square cabins have been temporarily built, surrounded by river beaches formed by melting glaciers and snow.

  This is He Zeqing's ninth visit to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

In November 2017, a floating airship with a volume of only 1,250 cubic meters leaped to an altitude of 5,000 meters for the first time; in 2019, the Jimu No. 1 I-type floating airship developed by the Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics reached an observation height of 7,003 meters above sea level, refreshing the Qinghai-Tibet scientific research mooring float. The world record for the altitude of airship stationed in the air for scientific observation.

  This is the ninth time to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and this "big beluga whale" has a new mission: to eliminate the influence of surface radiation, detect atmospheric markers such as atmospheric water vapor isotopes, methane, black carbon, and carbon dioxide in the Mount Everest area, and obtain Mount Everest Key scientific data on regional atmospheric water vapor transport and vertical changes in greenhouse gases.

  "We have to challenge the goal of raising the altitude higher than Mount Everest." He Zeqing said.

This time, 63 scientific expedition team members selected by Qinghai-Tibet Plateau Research Institute, Aerospace Information Innovation Research Institute, Changchun Institute of Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics, and the Eighth Institute of China Electric Power Technology teamed up to Mount Everest.

  Fu Qiang, the chief dispatcher of the air craft expedition team, was born in the 90s. When he went to the plateau for the first time in 2018, because he was not adapted to the plateau climate and lacked oxygen, he was top-heavy all the way. When he was not working, he lay in bed for a week to rest gradually improved.

  Now that they are "fighting" Mount Everest, he told reporters that at the test site, the temperature difference between day and night is large. The team members put on down jackets and military coats at night, and then changed to short sleeves one after another at noon.

The cold, dry environment on the plateau caused some team members to have frequent nosebleeds.

  Here, food, clothing, housing and transportation are kept simple.

It was inconvenient to fetch water, so the team members took turns going to the Everest Station to fetch water; the water was packed in plastic buckets, the sun had been in the sun for a long time at noon, and the water was filled with the smell of rubber; there was no building to cover it, and the sand was raging here, and it was common to bite the sand while eating. matter.

  Working in the Mount Everest area, the most scarce thing is oxygen, and the least thing is spirit.

  Chen Qi, a post-95s structural designer, chose to follow the Qinghai-Tibet Scientific Expedition Floating Craft Team to Mount Everest Station in his second year of employment to assist other team members to complete the inflatable air craft.

In the plateau, the situation is unpredictable.

On the day of the test, the weather forecast indicated that there would be a southerly wind, but during the on-site inflation operation, the wind direction suddenly changed to the northerly wind.

  "This is a dangerous moment for the airship." Chen Qi explained that the gas must be transported from head to tail along the streamlined body of the airship, and when the wind direction changes, if the coordination is not in place, the gas will flow inside. , there is a risk of material tearing due to excessive local stress.

The 25 team members at the scene avoided huge fluctuations in the gas by controlling the angle of the trolley.

After 10 hours, the floating craft was successfully transferred to the anchored state.

After blowing in the cold wind all night, Chen Qi and his colleagues had cold hands and feet.

After the inflation operation was over, someone bought back beef and mutton, steamed it in a pressure cooker, and cheered everyone up.

  Cui Yuxuan, a second-year graduate student born in 1999, followed the team to Mount Everest for an internship. He always remembered one detail of the fan test: after completing the fan performance test, a scientist present questioned that the fan's sound was wrong, and multiple inspections found nothing. After the problem, the scientist insisted that the fan be disassembled and the internal parts checked.

Later, it was found that the parts of the fan were slightly worn during transportation.

  Here, Chen Qi was touched, "Science is to face difficulties and solve existing problems with technical means." Cui Yuxuan found, "Science must be extremely rigorous, and errors in any link may lead to shortfalls in success. ."

pinnacle mission

  What is Pinnacle Mission?

  "Stand on top of the world to solve scientific problems." Some team members gave such an answer.

The purpose of this comprehensive scientific expedition to the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is "the peak mission".

  After going to the plateau nine times, the airship platform team of the Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics has accumulated a large amount of meteorological data on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

They have built a whole industry chain process from design, simulation, testing, system integration, and field tests, and conducted in-depth research and iterative upgrades on hull materials, measurement and control systems, energy systems, and mooring equipment.

  Breakthroughs come from the confidence of science, and the power of youth is also manifested here.

  Shaanxi boy Qu Wei, born in 1993, after graduating from Beijing University of Chemical Technology with a master's degree, joined the airship platform team of the Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

In a test, he found that when high-pressure helium gas is inflated into the hull, it will impact the material of the bag, affecting the safety of the floating craft, and the high-decibel noise will also cause hearing damage to the operators on site.

After research, he invented a rapid inflation and decompression device, which decompresses, decelerates and reduces the flow of high-pressure gas, and achieves the goal of charging 2,500 kg of buoyant helium per hour.

  In the follow-up test, in order to shorten the disassembly time of the chassis, Qu Wei invented a quick disassembly device, which has now been fully applied to aerostats and other aerostats.

  "Using the latest achievements and technologies to solve the most cutting-edge scientific problems." Zhang Taihua said that at the top of Mount Everest, it is necessary to have the strength and determination to solve the world's neck-stuck problems.

  everything's ready.

At 6:38 on May 13th, the Jimu-1 III-type airship was equipped with observation equipment and launched its first lift-off test at 5,300 meters; at 2:25 on May 14th, the second lift-off The air is as high as 8011 meters.

  At 1:26 on May 15, the third liftoff, the floating airship set off from an altitude of 4300 meters.

Qiao Tao, the executive deputy captain of the air craft scientific research team, and the operators of the anchor parking vehicle are always keeping an eye on the lift-off speed, the progress of cable routing, and various parameters of the control panel.

  On this day, when the sound of "the lift-off height of the airship exceeded 9,000 meters" came from the walkie-talkie, some team members jumped off the marching bed and stared at the screen.

  "After 5 years of research and development, it finally paid off." Zhang Taihua had mixed feelings at the scene, and everyone cheered and applauded in this camp.

  On this day, the Jimu-1 III floating airship platform surpassed Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, and obtained key scientific data on the atmospheric water vapor transport and vertical changes of greenhouse gases in the Mount Everest area, providing a basis for revealing the environmental changes of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau under the influence of westerly wind transport. important scientific basis.

  "Scientific research is an important practical activity for human beings to understand the laws of nature and promote technological development. It is an important measure to implement the innovation-driven development strategy." Cai Rong, secretary of the Party Committee of the Aerospace Academy, praised after learning the news: The flower-planting boy straightened his waist, I want to compare with Mount Everest.

  This group of successful Everest teams will pack their bags and set off again.

The next stop, they will go to another scientific research base to complete the new "peak mission".

  Yang Jie, a trainee reporter from China Youth Daily and China Youth Daily Source: China Youth Daily

  May 23, 2022 Version 08