Written by: MENG Xiaohui
Translated by: WANG Ziyun
Edited by: William Mosteller
On January 11, Harbin Institute of Technology Newspaper (edited by Ji Xing ) reported that, the national major science and technology infrastructure our school participates in, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope, which is known as "FAST", passed the national acceptance. All the indexes met or were superior to the approved acceptance indexes. Its main performance reaches the highestinternational standard, and it has the conditions for open operation. It has officially become the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. Specifically concerning our school’s portion of the work, the national acceptance committee has said, “the FAST project creates a flexible cable net structure with an active reflective surface.”
In 1994, the National Astronomical Observatory proposed the idea of carrying out theFAST project and pre-research work. The research team was led by academician Shen Shizhao, Professor Fan Feng, and Professor Qian Hongliang of theSpace Structure Research Center of Harbin Institute of Technology. They have participated in the pre-research, feasibility study, and preliminary design of theFAST project structure system since 2003. In 2007, it was officially approved as a national science and engineering project. As the first cooperation unit, Harbin Institute of Technology was responsible for the preliminary design of the reflective surface’sstructural system. Shen Shizhao served as a member of the Science and Technology Committee of the FAST project, Fan Feng as the chief engineer of the structural system, and Qian Hongliang as the deputy chief engineer.
The structural system of the active reflective surface of theFAST project has three characteristics: first, the body shape is extremely large, and the reflective surface area is about 30 standard football fields; second, the reflective surface requires real-time displacement, and its supporting structure is actually a complex mechanism system that can be adjusted in real time; third, the forming of the working paraboloid requires ultra-high precision, and its fitting root-mean-square is required to be less than 5mm. It can be said that every feature is a potential"roadblock", which could bring great difficulty to the design team. For this reason, the team proposed the idea of aflexible cable net structure with anactive reflective surface, and completed the design and experiment of theMiyun 30 meter model, which successfully applied a number of key technologies to the FAST project, providing strong technical support and guarantee for the national project establishment and completion of thesuper "Sky Eye". In view of the outstanding contributions made by Harbin Institute of Technology in the FAST project, on the occasion of the 90th anniversary of Harbin Institute of Technology in 2010, with the approval of the International Astronomical Federation, the National Astronomical Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences named an asteroid discovered on June 7, 1996 as the"Harbin Institute of Technology Star".
The Space Structure Research Center of Harbin Institute of Technology was founded in 1985 by Shen Shizhao, a famous structural engineering expert in China and one of the pioneers of China's large-span space structure. After more than 30 years of expansion and development, it has become an internationally famous base for theoretical research, talent cultivation, and engineering innovation of large-span space structure. The team hasadhered to the goal ofrefining major scientific issues in engineering practice for a long time, and hasaccepted the test of theoretical research results in engineering practice. At the same time, the team has made great efforts to pass on the fine tradition of the "800 warriors[LM1] " spirit of Harbin Institute of Technology, remain true to theiroriginal aspiration and keep the mission firmly in mind, carry forward the spirit of patriotic struggle, andcombine personal career with the future of the country to build achievements for the new era.
Academician Shen Shizhao (middle), Professor Fan Feng (first from left) and Professor Qian Hongliang (first from right) took a group photo in front of Harbin Institute of Technology
Professor Fan Feng (right), Professor Qian Hongliang (left) attend the national acceptance committee of FAST project