A long CCTV report on China’s space program, including interviews with the Shenzhou 10 crew, an overview of the nation’s space station plans, a report on life at the nation’s main spaceport, and a Q&A with American lunar expert John Lewis.
China launched three taikonauts into orbit this morning aboard the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft for the second and final human visit to the Tiangong 1 space station. The crew is set for a 15-day space mission.
Commander Nie Haisheng and crew mates Zhang Xiaoguan and Wang Yaping rocketed into orbit aboard a Long March 2F/G from Pad 921 at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center’s LC43 Launch Complex. The launch went off on schedule at 09:38 UTC.
This is China’s fifth human mission and the first since the crew of Shenzhou 9 visited the space station last June. Wang became the second Chinese woman to fly into space.
China is preparing for its first human spaceflight since last June:
China will launch its next manned rocket in the middle of this month, carrying three astronauts to an experimental space module, state media said on Monday, the latest stage of an ambitious plan to build a space station.
The Shenzhou 10 space ship and its rocket had already been moved to the launch area at a remote site in the Gobi desert, the official Xinhua news agency reported….
China is still far from catching up with the established space superpowers, the United States and Russia. The Tiangong 1 is a trial module, not the building block of a space station.
But this summer’s mission will be the latest show of China’s growing prowess in space and comes while budget restraints and shifting priorities have held back U.S. manned space launches.
It will be China’s fifth manned space mission since 2003 when astronaut Yang Liwei became the country’s first person in orbit.
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China was in second place in 2012 in terms of both launches (19) and payloads orbited (30). That record put it just behind Russia and ahead of the United States. One of those launches involved a three-person crew sent to the Tiangong-1 space station.
The following look at Chinese launch activities is excerpted from the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation’s new report, “The Annual Compendium of Commercial Space Transportation: 2012.” The excerpt includes a summary of 2012 launch activities, closer looks at the Long March 2 and 3 rockets, and a summary of the Long March 5, 6 and 7 launch vehicles now under development.
China’s surging space program moved into second place in 2012 in terms of both orbital launches and payloads, passing the United States and inching closer to Russia.
China successfully launched 19 rockets last year, placing a total of 30 payloads into orbit, according to an annual report released by the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation (AST). Russia led all nations with 34 payloads on 24 launches, while the United States came in third with 28 payloads on 13 launches.
Continue reading ‘China Surpassed U.S. in Launches, Payloads in 2012′
A look ahead to the coming year in space finds the introduction of new launch vehicles in the United States and Russia and a third attempt to launch a Russian-Korean rocket from South Korea. Meanwhile, China will send another crew to its orbiting space station and a rover to the moon.
Chinese astronauts enter the Tiangong-1 space station.
While the Chinese celebrate the launch of a three-member crew to the Tiangong-1 space station, two former chairman of India’s space agency ISRO are looking on with both admiration and regret. As China’s program has moved slowly but steadily forward, India’s plans for human space missions have slipped from around 2016 into the early to mid-2020s.
India’s top space scientists praised China’s maiden mission of manned docking of its space lab even as New Delhi’s own human space flight programme seems to have lost momentum.
“It’s a wonderful thing that has happened,” ex-Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation, U R Rao told PTI here. “Essentially, they are making sure that they are going ahead systematically with manned mission programme”. …
He said India has not started any manned mission programme at all. “We have to have much larger and much more powerful launch vehicle,” Rao said.
China performed its first human docking on Monday:
China’s Shenzhou 9 space capsule — which launched Saturday carrying three astronauts, including the country’s first female spaceflier — linked up automatically with the unmanned Tiangong 1 space lab just after 2 p.m. Monday Beijing time (2 a.m. ET), according to CCTV.
The only other countries to pull off an orbital docking with a manned spacecraft are the United States and then-Soviet Russia, which first did so in 1966 and 1969, respectively.
Shenzhou 9 was to dock with Tiangong 1 twice. The plan called for the first hookup to be conducted in automated mode, following the pattern set last November during an all-robotic docking between Tiangong and an unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft. At some point, the two spacecraft will separate, and the three taikonauts, as China’s astronauts are known, will perform the second docking under manual control.
Read more at MSNBC.
China launched the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft with three astronauts aboard atop a Long March 2F rocket on Saturday. Commander Jing Haipeng, Liu Wang and Liu Yang — the first Chinese woman in space — are headed for a two-week mission to the Tiangong-1 space station. This will be the first human crew to dock with China’s first space station, which was launched last year. The crew will dock with Tiangong-1 on Monday. This is China’s first human launch in nearly four years.