Beijing Aerospace Control Centre
The Beijing Aerospace Control Centre (BACC) is the mission control centre for China’s human spaceflight and planetary exploration programmes. The centre is located inside a complex nicknamed “Beijing Aerospace City”, in the northwest of Beijing about 14 km from the city centre. The construction of the centre began in 1994 in order to support the Project 921, and the control centre became operational in 1998.
BACC has supported all of China’s Shenzhou flight missions and Chang’e lunar probing missions. It is also responsible for the long-term management of China’s space stations, including the Tiangong 1 and 2 space laboratories, and the Tianhe 1 core module due to be launched in 2018. The centre is able to issue orders to and collect information from the flying spacecraft, as well as launch centres, tracking stations and tracking ships around the globe in real-time via a communications network consisting of communications satellites, fibre-optic, and UHF. The central command & control hall of BACC is equipped with large projector screens and control consoles, as well as a visitor area for VIP guests and press.
In a typical Shenzhou mission, the Mission Command and Control Centre (MCCC) of the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre (JSLC) is responsible for monitoring and managing the spacecraft during the launch and ascending stage of the flight. Once the spacecraft is inserted into its initial orbit, BACC takes over the control of the spacecraft and remains in charge throughout the mission until the re-entry capsule has landed.
Beijing Aerospace City is a research and development hub, astronaut training base and mission control centre for China’s human space flight, space exploration and satellite projects. The facility is a large campus situated on a 2.3 square kilometres (577 acres) land in Tangjialing in northwest Beijing. First becoming operational in 1998, it is the home to the Beijing Aerospace Control Centre (BACC), China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), and Astronaut Centre of China (ACC). It also has a range of support facilities including accommodations, offices and a conference centre.
The centre accommodates the administrative headquarters of CAST, as well as a whole range of spacecraft development and test facilities to support the entire spacecraft design and development process. They include spacecraft assembly, integration and test (AIT) facilities, wind tunnels and thermal vacuum chambers (TVC). All Shenzhou crewed vehicles and Tiangong experimental orbital stations were built here.
The centre is also the home to the Chinese Astronaut Corps and the Astronaut Centre of China (ACC). Astronauts complete the majority of their training programme in the centre. Its facilities include a full-size Shenzhou training mock-up, vacuum chambers, human centrifuge, a neutral buoyancy water tank for simulated extra-vehicular activity (EVA) training, astronaut dormitory and a gym.