China Launches its First Space Lab:

Total posts: [55]
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China is calling their astronauts, 'yuhangyuans'. I would have preferred taikonaut to yuhangyuan, but whatever.

Good job, China. I just hope that corners weren't cut in the production of this.

A rocket carrying China's first space laboratory, Tiangong-1, has launched from the north of the country.

The Long March vehicle lifted clear from the Jiuquan spaceport in the Gobi Desert at 21:16 local time (13:16 GMT).

It will be a few hours before controllers can confirm that the lab has been put in its correct orbit.

The 10.5m-long, cylindrical module will be unmanned for the time being, but the country's astronauts, or yuhangyuans, are expected to visit it next year.

Tiangong means "heavenly palace" in Chinese.

The plan is for the module to operate in an autonomous mode, monitored from the ground. Then, in a few weeks' time, China will launch another unmanned spacecraft, Shenzhou 8, and try to link the pair together.

This rendezvous and docking capability is a prerequisite if larger structures are ever to be assembled in orbit.

Assuming the Shenzhou 8 venture goes well, two manned missions (Shenzhou 9 and 10) should follow in 2012. The yuhangyuans - two or three at a time - are expected to live aboard the conjoined vehicles for up to two weeks.

China has promised to build a fully fledged space station at the end of the decade.

  • Tiangong-1 will launch on the latest version of a Long March 2F rocket
  • The lab will go into a 300-400km-high orbit and will be untended initially
  • An unmanned Shenzhou vehicle will later try to dock with Tiangong
  • The orbiting lab will test key technologies such as life-support systems
  • China's stated aim is to build a 60-tonne space station by about 2020

edited 29th Sep '11 7:06:27 AM by Pentadragon

2 SgtRicko29th Sep 2011 07:03:38 AM from Guam, USA , Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
I was oringally hoping that this would inspire some friendly technological competition from NASA, but sadly it seems that the opposite is happening. With the US trying to cut it's budget it looks like we won't be seeing any new developments soon.sad
Would you believe I never fully watched the original Indiana Jones trilogy? I gotta correct that someday.
Well it could at least spur some cooperation on the new lab. Afterall, USA wanted to scuttle the ISS and everyone else who poured lots of money into it balked at such a suggestion.
Pretending to be human
Too bad if the US gov tries to pour money into competing with this the Tea Party will scream 'government waste'. Then when China does even more stuff, they blame the gov even more for letting America fall behind.

edited 29th Sep '11 7:30:38 AM by Exploder

Well ignoring that for now, we have to wait and see if China tries to get India and Japan to cooperate on the lab... or who does the rebuffing.
I think its a good thing, really. At least some large nation is pouring resources into space related research and development. Plus I cant wait to see the jingoistic paranoid screams of the Tea Party

edited 29th Sep '11 9:14:06 AM by Midgetsnowman

7 Ratix29th Sep 2011 10:22:56 AM from Someplace, Maryland
Maybe enough to get us back to spending on space again? It worked last time.
good for China, really. It's a good feeling to know that at least one country is thinking long term. Even it's a country I don't personally like.
9 pvtnum1129th Sep 2011 10:53:12 AM from Kerbin low orbit , Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
More space stuff is a good thing. More power to them, congrats. I hope this spurns us on to do more with NASA, maybe we can do a modern version of the Soyuz-Apollo docking symbolic thing, too.
Happiness is zero-gee with a sinus cold.
snowman@Actually I think some Tea Party members might get on board on it because for one thing a lot of them are from the generation that remembers the moon landing.Also I think I remember a lot of Republicans were dissapointed when it ended.You never know if it can produce results then it won't be a waste of money.

edited 29th Sep '11 10:57:19 AM by joyflower

11 pvtnum1129th Sep 2011 10:57:20 AM from Kerbin low orbit , Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
Happiness is zero-gee with a sinus cold.
12 BlueNinja029th Sep 2011 11:56:53 AM from Lost in a desert oasis , Relationship Status: In my bunk
Chronically Sleep Deprived
And now China is one step closer to orbital nuclear weapons. Yay!
TBH, his ego doesn't need more stroking. Nor does any other part of him. - M84
Orbital Nukes arent very practical given ICB Ms are cheaper and work just as well.
14 USAF71329th Sep 2011 01:54:23 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.

Old powers fall, new powers rise.
I am now known as Flyboy.
@ Blue Ninja

Well actually China is a firm supporter of the UN ban on space weapons, while Russia/USA are not. However, space tech is space tech, you slap on some missiles and bam it is an orbital weapons platform.

edited 29th Sep '11 2:33:31 PM by breadloaf

16 USAF71329th Sep 2011 02:36:27 PM from the United States
^ Well we could get everyone to ratify the Space Preservation Treaty. The only government officials to do that are random Canadian ones, so I don't think it really counts for anything yet.
18 USAF71329th Sep 2011 02:53:13 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
For what? Anti-militarization for space is a hopeless endeavor. When people get into space in earnest, they're bringing guns with them, and all the pieces of paper in the world aren't going to stop that...
I am now known as Flyboy.
It's humanity's duty to do just that, I'm not going to accept our future doom.
20 USAF71329th Sep 2011 03:02:09 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Well, sure, you can try, but once one nation does it, demilitarizing space will be impossible. The ensuing arms race will make the Cold War look like a school yard pissing match.

edited 29th Sep '11 3:02:44 PM by USAF713

I am now known as Flyboy.
21 Balmung29th Sep 2011 04:27:14 PM from Omaha, NE, Free American Empire , Relationship Status: GAR for Archer
Break the Chains
The Russians already put a gun in space in the '60s or '70s. Of course it was just a little .50 cal or 20 mm thing for testing stuff (basically, they shot some space debris with it), and their astronauts (at least used to) carry guns. Not that that's really full scale space militarization or anything.

Part of why we haven't militarized space, I imagine, it's that it's expensive and there's not all that much to do with it yet.

As for China's space lab: Good for them. Thing is, NASA already did that in the '70s, so I don't think this'll quite be a "Sputnik moment".

edited 29th Sep '11 4:27:24 PM by Balmung

22 MajorTom29th Sep 2011 04:42:46 PM , Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Eye'm the cutest!
Too bad if the US gov tries to pour money into competing with this the Tea Party

It wasn't the Tea Party that grounded NASA's aims for the future. That was one Barack Obama.


Do I smell a live-fire target for SM-3 missiles?
"Allah may guide their bullets, but Jesus helps those who aim down the sights."
23 pvtnum1129th Sep 2011 05:16:08 PM from Kerbin low orbit , Relationship Status: We finish each other's sandwiches
No, you don't smell a target.
Happiness is zero-gee with a sinus cold.
24 GameChainsaw29th Sep 2011 05:20:59 PM from sunshine and rainbows!
The Shadows Devour You.
Wouldn't any Chinese space platforms be rather easy to shoot down if they were used for sniping cities from orbit?
25 USAF71329th Sep 2011 05:23:17 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
With current tech? Yes. The satellites are stupidly fragile. You can really just knock them around with a relatively small metal chunk and they'll either be damaged beyond repair or knocked out of orbit. A nuke can take out a whole bunch of them at once, as the EMP goes farther without the atmosphere to hold it down...
I am now known as Flyboy.

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