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Space Science

China Launches Third Unmanned Space Capsule 333

Posted by timothy
from the space-has-more-room dept.
Guppy06 writes: "As you read this China's third unmanned (except for a dummy) Shenzhou capsule is whizzing over your head. It was launched around 1400 UTC on one of China's newer Long March II F boosters. There's an article at CNN. As per usual, our good friends at NORAD have all the details of its orbit available here, but after last September you need to register to get it..."
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China Launches Third Unmanned Space Capsule

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  • Cool (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Daveman692 (558544)
    I think it is good another country is in space. It is a vast frontier that if we want to explore we need to work togeather, globally. The ISS is a start but we need to get many more countries to have space programs. It is a world effort to do anything up there and it is somewhere worth exploring.
    • Does the side of the pod say "China" (like we (americans) have USA) or does it say "Made in China" like everything else in the USA?

      This should be great for mass production of space fairing ships. Tourist travel here we come!
      • by jsse (254124)
        Does the side of the pod say "China" (like we (americans) have USA) or does it say "Made in China" like everything else in the USA?

        Checked. It's "People Republic of China", no made in China. Well, actually, not much things in China has labeled with their origin, in case you don't know.
    • Hopefully this will get America's NASA more funding to be competitive. NASA has become a bloated and dying entity. Not the same agency it was in the 60-70's.
      • Re:Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Waffle Iron (339739) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @01:44AM (#3226737)
        Hopefully this will get America's NASA more funding to be competitive.

        Face it, the only reason for a country to do manned space flight is to prove to the world that it has the expertise to deploy a credible ICBM force. The US and Soviet union did this decades ago. We both proved our points and now both manned space programs drift aimlessly with no purpose.

        Now it's China's turn to fly some astronauts so we will ph34r their 1337 missile skillz. I expect that they will use the US antimissile project as an excuse to seriously increase their ICBM force above the current token levels, so this manned space program fits in nicely.

        That doesn't mean that we need to blow even more money sending our people on months-long trips round and round the globe. We should use all of NASA's current budget to send much more frequent and capable unmanned missions to other planets.

        • Re:Cool (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Guppy06 (410832)
          "Face it, the only reason for a country to do manned space flight is to prove to the world that it has the expertise to deploy a credible ICBM force."

          No, this is the 21st century. Ballistic flight paths are far easier (both in terms of horsepower and mathematics) than figuring out how to both orbit and deorbit something. Compare the Minuteman III to the Titan IV or even the old Atlas boosters some time. Being able to put a person into space tells others not that you have a credible ICBM force but that you're a credible competitor in the lucrative satellite launch market.

          Pyongyang sending ballistic missile tests arcing over Japan is an example of nuclear saber-rattling. Dehli putting something into geosynchronus orbit is a commercial for Indian spaceflight. The PRC looking to put a person in orbit is an example of the second (while missile drills on the coast of the Straits of Taiwan are the first).

          Besides, China really doesn't have a credible ICBM force. MRBMs, yes, but they only have a dozen or two nuclear missiles that could reach California, and even that's a stretch. And their submarine force could be found with a Geiger counter. The PRC would be hard pressed to match the ICBM force of France or the UK, let alone those of Russia or the US...

          "Now it's China's turn to fly some astronauts so we will ph34r their 1337 missile skillz."

          That's the LAST thing they want to say with their manned space program. The PRC is well aware that the People's Army is no match for even the forces of Taiwan. The reason Beijing is so interested in playing little diplomatic games like releasing reports on US human rights abuses and crying out against US hegemony is because that's the only option open to them for competing against the US.

          "I expect that they will use the US antimissile project as an excuse to seriously increase their ICBM force above the current token levels,"

          They have two mutually-exclusive choices:

          1.) Develop ICBM technology to try to engage in a nuclear arms race they lost 40 years before they started.

          2.) Democratize and develop their economy.

          Beijing can't afford both. Option 2 potentially gives them the ability to try out option 1 (why they would I have no idea) a few decades down the line, but option 1 gives you a civil war within a decade as the people become more and more dissatisfied with their pathetic economy.

          "so this manned space program fits in nicely."

          If anything, the manned space program fits in nicely with option 2 above. It's something shiney to distract the Chinese people and give them a sense of hope for the Middle Kingdom's place in the world as their unemployment figures continue to rise (as they have been doing for the past year or so) as the economy shifts towards capitalism.

          "We should use all of NASA's current budget to send much more frequent and capable unmanned missions to other planets."

          Um... if we don't spend money on manned spaceflight now, when do we? The major goal of all interplanetary exploration is to look for new real estate.
    • Perhaps the Chinese will find economic ways of sending people into space instead of NASA bloat-ware which costs a half-billion per shuttle launch ($100 million per person). It would take 500 people a year paying what Tito and the N'SYNC guy are paying to fund NASA's bloated program.

      • Have some pity, though, on the idealistic scientists trapped in a government bureaucracy when all they wanted to do was good basic science.

        While their agency's funding gets whipsawed around like a political football (Wait, make sure you fund the contractors in my district!), they're trying to do something meaningful and worthwhile.

        Along the lines of a ToDo list for NASA, I'd really like to see a few more investments into orbiting telescopes like the Hubble, but better, and perhaps even several of them to get a solar system wide VLBA effect.

  • by RasputinAXP (12807) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:16AM (#3226419) Homepage Journal
    The only problem is that after the first capsule, they were hungry again after an hour.
  • China now poses a serious threat to Nasa...no, kidding... But if the government doesn't give Nasa more money....
  • Whoosh! (Score:4, Funny)

    by CaptainCarrot (84625) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:19AM (#3226430)
    As you read this China's third unmanned (except for a dummy) Shenzhou capsule is whizzing over your head.

    DUCK!!!

  • If they had launched a N'sync member instead. Who cares if it lacks the tech to keep him safe. It would relieve us of a Nsuck member.

    I can see it now.

    PAy 20mil to goto spacestation but get to ride in china's one for free. Hopefully the boybands are too dumb to realize they are unmanned and they would be cargo without life support.
  • by Seehund (86897) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:20AM (#3226438) Homepage Journal
    At whom?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    SpaceRef has images [spaceref.com] from China television on today's launch.
  • US Space Program (Score:5, Insightful)

    by milkmandan9 (190569) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:22AM (#3226450)
    So what exactly does this mean for the US space program? This country has never been the type to sit around on its laurels when someone else is venturing into new, uncharted territory.

    Granted, it's not like China is going to be the first to land on the moon, but what if they get to the point where they're developing a moon colony or sending up as many reuseable spacecraft as we are? Is the US finally going to start shoveling money back into the space program?
    • Because Bill Clinton gave Loral (large campaign donner) Washington Post Story [washingtonpost.com] permission to sell this technology to our good friends the Chinese, they'll soon be able to deliver highly enriched Uranium right to your doorstep! The Democrats and Europeans think that playing defense is unsportsmanlike and that a shield is unnecessary. Thankfully Bush,Rumsfeld et al think differently and were are moving ahead on the project.
      • You think China has plans to nuke their largest market??
      • ...Unless you think it'd be a good idea to shoot down foreign astronauts.

        In case you're just tuning in, China can already "deliver highly enriched Uranium right to your doorstep".
        http://www.kimsoft.com/korea/ch-war.htm

        But this wasn't an ICBM test. This was "a manned space vessel"

        Instead they're doing something progressive and forward looking, investing in science and technology. Perhaps they will agree to help fund or build the ISS.

        Please keep your hate-mongering to yourself.

        Sweat
      • Speaking of ballistic missile defense:

        Last week the US scored its third [osd.mil] straight hit-to-kill intercept, this one discriminating amongst a group of decoys.

        We've been sending a lot of money on missile defense. We're starting to see the fruits of that labor. I just think its funny that when people were debating feasibility, its the biggest news of the day. But when the engineers start to make it work, it doesn't even make the evening news.
        • Now, if they just could convince China to equip their rockets with C-band transponders [hypocrisy.org], too, this would be a tremendious step forward. (Of course, it is still a technical achievement, just not such a great one as Lockhead it wants to be.)

          Maybe have a look at a (probably little outdated) article by Bob Harris [motherjones.com].
          Especially the quote from the "Interagency Intelligence Assessment of Possible Soviet Responses to the US Strategic Defense Initiative" report (1983) about the feasibility of SDI (now BMD) is worth noticing.

          To preempt a 9/11 statement, the report of the National Intelligence Council "Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States Through 2015" considers "non-missle delivery options" more likely.

          To quote Mr. Harris interpretation of the report:

          Think about it: pretend you're a crazed dictator hell-bent to wipe out Pittsburgh. (Nothing personal, guys. Actually, there are people in Pittsburgh I love very much. Just making a point.) Are you gonna spend all your cash on a big-ass missile system that takes years to develop -- thereby all but guaranteeing satellite detection and a pre-emptive attack from the U.S. -- and which in any case leaves your fingerprints all over the attack, guaranteeing your subsequent annihilation? Or are you gonna just have a few guys smuggle the bomb parts into Canada, drive it over at Niagara Falls in the back of a VW minibus, and then simply pull the trigger on Three Rivers Stadium?

          (The stadium, by the way, can go, as far as I'm concerned.)

        • *ahem* Rigged demo?

          If you stop listening to the military and think about it a moment, you'd realize that you'd need

          a) intelligent (as in near-sentient) discriminator systems
          b) long-range sensor technology (like, for example, a geiger counter that works from ten klicks away)
          c) an enemy that plays along by making warheads look like warheads

          Missile defense is a boondoggle. There hasn't been one test yet that convinced me otherwise, and there won't be until we arrange for another country to shoot dummy warheads at us to give as close to a real world test as can be managed without killing anybody (as if anyone would bother shooting a missile in these days of suitcase bombs).

          /brian
      • OMFG, you're insane (Score:2, Informative)

        by cadallin451 (536419)
        It is your kind of attitude that is going to lead to WWIII, which is, by the way, A BAD THING.

        (in the oops we just turned the Earth into a copy of Venus sense)

        SDI does not, and cannot work, and here's why:

        The change in the cost for an SDI system to increase its effectiveness is exponential, while the change in cost to defeat an SDI system is linear. Therefore, delta C (of SDI) is larger order than delta C (to defeat SDI). What this means is that the cost of an SDI system approaches infinity much faster than the cost of building nukes.

        But how do I get these functions from you ask? simple.

        Any ballistic missle counter measure is very expensive, because its technology (primarily guidance, but everything must be of much higher quality, you just can't afford failures) must be much much better than that of a ballistic missle. Therefore in order to reach, oh say 50% effectiveness (that is 50% of deployed countermeasures successfully neutralize their targets) you must spend far, far more on your countermeasures to defeat the enemies attack, than the attacker has to spend on his missles. Think about it in terms of computers, the guidance chip in a nuke can be equivelant to about a 386 and still be able to perform quite well, while an anti-ballistic missle unit needs at least an Athlon. Now consider the difference in cost between the two: the 386 costs maybe $5 now, while the Althon is over $200, thats exponential change in cost for you.

        An attacker though, has only to launch more missles to neutralize your countermeasures.

        So before you get all riled up to get into a nuke tossing war with someone, you need to think damn long and hard about what you consider acceptable losses, because anyway you slice it, if the US gets into a Nuke war, because we are going to lose several major cities, SDI or no.

        You people need to realize that the only real hope to avoid such a situation is for the US to stop acting like a swaggering unilateral bull, and to start acting like a responsible citizen of the world. We must start solving the very real issues that face the world today or WWIII will happen. The primary issues are Overpopulation, coupled with the problem of food and water supply, and the substantial damage being done to the environment.

        The earth is already pretty badly overpopulated (according to UN), currently that means that the amount of population over the sustainable population is causing immense damage to the ecosphere. It is eventually going to get so bad that we will see food riots, widespread cannabalism and all the Malthusian horrors. This is a path that leads invariably to war, probably the last war that will ever be fought on earth.

        The US, and all the other major nations need to be acting now to counteract population growth and environmental damage, not wasting resources setting up a worthless missle defense system.

        • Any ballistic missle counter measure is very expensive, because its technology (primarily guidance, but everything must be of much higher quality, you just can't afford failures) must be much much better than that of a ballistic missle. Therefore in order to reach, oh say 50% effectiveness (that is 50% of deployed countermeasures successfully neutralize their targets) you must spend far, far more on your countermeasures to defeat the enemies attack, than the attacker has to spend on his missles. Think about it in terms of computers, the guidance chip in a nuke can be equivelant to about a 386 and still be able to perform quite well,

          A 386 is probably overkill. The only thing a ballistic missile really needs to be able to cope with is the unevenness of the atmosphere as it reenters. Otherwise it's course is just a matter of newtonian physics.
          Also it is trivial to defeat such an anti missile system if you can smuggle weapons into your enemy's cities. This isn't viable with high explosive truck bombs since you need to get them very near to specific buildings.
        • We must start solving the very real issues that face the world today or WWIII will happen. The primary issues are Overpopulation, coupled with the problem of food and water supply, and the substantial damage being done to the environment.

          At the risk of burning some karma, let me be the first say "Bullshit." What the hell makes you think we are responsible for solving the world's problems? We continue to send $Billions in taxpayer money to third world countries, and for what? So those idiots can continue pumping out babies, spreading disease, and refusing to grow their own food? With the US taxpayers footing the bill they have no incentive to better their situation. Look at the spread of AIDS in Africa, for example! We've tried to warn them. We've bought them condoms, we've urged their government to teach them, but they don't listen. They keep spreading it to one another. They obviously don't care about themselves, so why the fuck should we care about them?

          Food riots? Widespread cannabalism? Not in any civilized countries.

          It's time to end third world dependence on the United States. Send in huge numbers of specialists and spend a couple of years teaching these idiots to grow their own food, use birth control, and curb the spread of disease. Once they've been taught and are capable of surviving, leave them to their own devices. If they fail, then I guess they'll have to figure their own way out of the situation, because I'm getting sick and fucking tired of supporting everyone. It is NOT our job to take care of them. Period.
    • If china lands on the moon the US will probably change it's tune on whether or not various non-Earth bodies may be owned by anyone (except the US of course), esp. if something valuable is found.
    • Its not about the moon.
      How many of use here at /. want NASA/gov to get off their butts and go to MARS. Thats right people. If China even breaths one word about wanting to go to Mars we will have a new space race. The USA will not stand idely by while China begins to make the Red Planet ... well The RED Planet.
    • This is just an additional development showing China's growing strength. It's economy, based on PPP (purchasing power product, like GNP, but based on equivalent purchasing power instead of relying upon monetary conversions, as GNP does, is the second largest in the world (right behind the US -- 1996 estimate $4,047 billion international dollars, whereas the US had about $6,000 billion international dollars), and is growing much more rapidly than the US PPP -- about 8% a year. In not too long, China will surpass the US as the largest economy on the planet. And it still has a long ways to grow and improve. Eventually it will dwarf the US economy.

      What then? China is destined to become the world's largest economy. We simply won't be able to compete in a full-out space race, on a dollar-per-dollar basis. As I see it, there are several possibilities. One is that we will focus our research efforts, much like some European nations have done, in order to excel. (Gran Sasso in Italy, for instance, is a leading high energy detector chamber for high-energy cosmic rays.) Or perhaps we will still manage to shine, simply because we attract better talent from around the world, and do better work with the limited resources available to us. Another possibility is that the US will forge closer ties with other nations -- in North America, Europe, and elsewhere, so that our economy will be able to compete with those of China, India, and Russia, once those nations get their acts together. Lastly, we may indeed be relegated to second (or lower) place on the world's stage, in space and other fields.

      You take your pick.

      Bob

      • And China is 125th on that list, behind such economic powerhouses as Kazakhstan, Tonga, and Gabon.

        China is interested in space flight as a method of improving their ICBMs. They could give a rat's ass about Mars.
        • So why are they wasting money building resources for manned missions?

          Whatever the Chinese are up to, it ain't ICBM building. They already have them.

        • by RobertFisher (21116) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @01:40AM (#3226723) Homepage Journal
          Oh yes. Per capita GNP. The same measure that Luxembourg beats the US out on. By almost a factor of 2, as well. Over $45,000 per capita for Luxembourg versus a bit over $28,000 for the US. I suppose that makes Luxmberourg the world's most powerful economy in the world.

          Seriously though, the buying power of an economy is jointly determined by both the total PPP and PPP per capita. But when it comes to research expenditures, the total size of the economy is what is important. If you can afford to spend a few percent of your economy on research, the total PPP is what is most important. The PPP per capita is also important, but its importance issecondary -- it is related to how much your citizens can afford to be taxed, and so is related to the percent of your total PPP which you can afford to allocate towards research.

          Bob
          • If you can afford to spend a few percent of your economy on research, the total PPP is what is most important. The PPP per capita is also important, but its importance issecondary -- it is related to how much your citizens can afford to be taxed, and so is related to the percent of your total PPP which you can afford to allocate towards research.

            Spoken like a good party man. GNP, PPP, or whatever you want to call it per capita is paramount. If you don't have enough money to educate your citezens, you won't have science. Sure, you can build up a few elite institutions and educate thousands. If you are really good, you can even beat human nature and load those institutions with your best and brightest. Those efforts still can not compete with oportunities given millions, where the best and brightests can rise by merrit.

            There can be no happiness without wisdom. There is no wisdom without free exchage of knowledge. There is no happiness in a state where politics trumps truth. We shall see where the Chinese go with their wealth. Comand economies tend to waste.

      • Note: all facts taken from CIA factbook http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index .html

        Haven't we heard this before time and time again. The Japanese, the Germans, the EU, the Russians, etc, etc, etc. I remember back in the 80s when Japan was "taking over the world" and Americans were just lazy stupid people who would all soon be working for Japanese bosses. Hasn't turned out that way, eh?

        First of all, remember that past economic growth is no indication of future growth. See dot com boom. Don't make the same mistake with other country's economies (or this one's). Secondly, every country has its own difficulties. China has serious internal stability problems to deal with (see Tienanmen Square). It still has a very large percentage of agriculture based workers, around 50%. The per capita GDP is only $3,600 (compared to $36,200 for US). Remember that with x4 the population of the US you have to spend x4 the resources feeding and clothing them. Finally, while they have over a billion people now it will be interesting to see what long term effects the "one-child" policy will have---especially if the vast majority of Chinese choose to have males.

        Of course, they still may come up and kick our butts. But don't think it will be simple.

        Brian Ellenberger
        • Brian :

          I think you are confusing my argument with those of other individuals. I am saying the total size of the economy is, in the long run, proportional to the total resources (natural, human, etc.) available to it. The implicit assumption is that in the long run, nations will eventually find ways to solve their internal social and economic problems. The US has no exlusive monopoly on high productivity -- eventually other nations will adapt to our solution, or find even better solutions. It may not happen in a year, or a decade, or possibly even a century. But it will happen. This is certainly true historically -- if you look over very long period of time (say a century or more), productivity has dramatically increased in every modern nation. The US does not have exclusive rights to high productivity, and eventually the unseen hand of economics tends to level the playing field.

          Note that Japan's economy will always be limited by the fact that it can only support so many people on its land. It has indeed done very well, but it cannot sustain orders of magnitude higher productivity than the US.

          In the 18th century, Alexis DeToqueville made an interesting prediction that Russia and the United States would eventually come to be world powers, based on a similar line of logic. Skeptics at that time looked at the US, which was quite a backwater place, and scoffed at the notion. Their criticisms are very similar to those you pose for China today. It took a very long time for the US to develop the economic, legal, and social institutions to succeed as a predominant world power -- almost two centuries. I would argue the same will prove true for China in the next century. It is a very safe bet.

          Bob

      • "Lastly, we may indeed be relegated to second (or lower) place on the world's stage, in space and other fields."

        Holy shit! You mean we'll be *like everybody else*, and *depend on others*? I wonder if our egos can handle it...

        I'm not kidding...
      • "This is just an additional development showing China's growing strength."

        Economically? Perhaps. But keep in mind that we now live in a world where even India can launch geosynchronus satellites.

        Militarily? HELL no. The People's Army is a joke and will continue to be so for the forseeable future (read "the 21st Century"). Non-Western cultures have historically had great difficulty adapting to both Western military doctrine and Western military technology (Japan is a bit of the exception that proves the rule). Their class structure (political, cultural or economic differences) is just too rigid. Combine that with the regime's historic fear of the military (officers are promoted based on loyalty more than military prowess) and you end up with a China that is lucky to have the title "regional power."

        "It's economy... is the second largest in the world"

        But its economy is based on manufacturing and industry, goods instead of services. China's economy relies on being able to find someone with enough money to buy their manufactured goods. The Chinese people can't do that now and won't be able to do that for a long time. If you want to find a large number of people who have the money to afford these goods, you're pretty much stuck with selling mostly to the US. The Chinese economy relies much more on the US economy than vice versa.

        China has supplanted Japan as the #2 economy in the world. When the Japanese economy took a nose dive about a decade ago, east Asian markets suffered as well as a result. When the US economy sunk recently, the whole world felt the impact.

        "We simply won't be able to compete in a full-out space race, on a dollar-per-dollar basis."

        Yes, we will, and quite easily at that. The Shenzhou capsule and the Long March II F that launched it are based on the Soviet Soyuz capsule and Vostok booster. 1960's technology. Even with the help of Rosaviakosmos, it will take a lot of time and a lot of money for China to play catch-up with our spaceflight infrastructure, all the while we'll be advancing ours even further. The US has a 40 year head start.

        And on top of that don't forget that we have the added advantage of having a Western culture to use these technologies.

        "Another possibility is that the US will forge closer ties with other nations -- in North America, Europe, and elsewhere, so that our economy will be able to compete with those of China, India, and Russia,"

        Again: A manufacturing-based economy neeeds a services-based economy in order to survive. If you have a car factory that makes $40,000 cars you still won't make any money if nobody can afford a $40,000 car.

        India is making the transition into a service-based economy. They have some real innovators over there taking advantage of the largest English-speaking population in the world. But they still have that nasty caste system to deal with. Their economic growth may not be as fast as China's, but it will take them to a more secure conclusion.

        Russia has two advantages going for it: an existing high-tech base (but they have some catching up to do in the consumer goods area) and a metric fuckload of oil (they're poised to beat out Saudi Arabia as #1 oil exporter). Couple that second one with a Western-esque culture and the currently warm political climate between them and the US and before too long you'll end up with Russia and the US locked together in a mutual admiration club. Baring a major political upheaval, Russia and the US are destined to work with each other far more than they work against each other. Visualize American oil companies buying Russian oil while those Russian oil employees buy shiny new Maytag washers and dryers.

        "Lastly, we may indeed be relegated to second (or lower) place on the world's stage, in space and other fields."

        While they may be catching up to us economically, it will be a long time indeed before anybody (especially China) has the wherewithall to compete with the US militarily, technologically or even politically.
        • "Visualize American oil companies buying Russian oil while those Russian oil employees buy shiny new Maytag washers and dryers. "

          As someone who is currently employed designing oil drilling equipment*, I can say that the current state of affairs is: American oil companies buying Russian oil while those Russian Oil companies buy the oil drilling and pumping equipment from American Mfg. Companies. Despite the fact that we are a manufacturing company, a lot of our "value" comes from service; that is spending a lot of engineering man-hours customizing the equipment to the needs of the users and the environment they will drill in. Those Ruskies look very serious about their efforts to supplant Saudi Arabia.

          I don't think China will ever be able to compete with the United States until they begin to emulate the Free World politically and economically. An economy managed from the top down will never be competitive with a free market because economies are just too complex for our current ability to measure, calculate, and control. I think that is also why the idea behind Japan Inc. has produced a decade long "recession". Despite their propaganda to the contrary, China is run a lot more like a "company town" than it is a "workers paradise". Once they do become a free country, I wish them all the success they can handle.

          *Another year of faithful service and I can start attending the secret Oil Business consiracy planning sessions where we figure out how to keep alternative energy sources from being economically viable. BWA HA HA HA!
  • Seriously!

    The more competition in space, the better the chances of it being commoditized, in my opinion. Time for a fire to get lit under some respective butts!
  • by Peyna (14792)
    Anyone else getting a 403 forbidden on that norad link? Anyone got a fix for it?
  • by gadfium (318941) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:24AM (#3226467)
    This is the third launch of this series of spacecraft, not China's third launch. The "Shenzhou" craft started in 1999, but China first launched a satellite in 1970 and has launched dozens to date.
    • It's a launch of a manned space capsule, not a satellite

      in theory they could have put a real person in there.

      Chinese want to be the third nation to put people into space, taking what they see as their palce as equals with russia and the USA.

      But I'm sure they've got their sights on No.1
      • by Anonymous Coward
        of course they have their sights set on being no. 1. They think that Han chinese are the culmination of evolution and that everything outside the middle kingdom is the wasteland of barbarians. I've spoken with Chinese (in China) who sheepishly told me that Chinese were superior human beings. They already think they're number 1, but i'm sure they want to assume their proper place as soon as possible.
    • This is the third launch of this series of spacecraft, not China's third launch. The "Shenzhou" craft started in 1999, but China first launched a satellite in 1970 and has launched dozens to date.

      Yes, but isn't this the first space craft to be able to support humans in it? Or at least the first one to actually work. They only sent a dummy up, but I am assuming they are going to examine it to see what effects it had on it when it lands. (See if it burt up or something.)

      But then again, I don't really know what I am talking about here. I am just thinking slashdot had to have a good reason to post it. I mean.. it isn't like they post whenever a US Shuttle takes off or lands. (do they?)
  • ...the password there is ".seineew era snaciremA tsilatipaC"
  • OIG Registration (Score:2, Informative)

    by Tom Rothamel (16)
    Of course, one had to register before last September to get orbital elements from nasa. So, it's a bit misleading to claim that september had anything to do with it. This is a relatively September-agnostic sort of thing, which IIRC was implemented to keep people from hammering the servers.
    • Re:OIG Registration (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Actually, there was some suspicious traffic on the goddard elset site just before 9/11. Possibly the bad guys checking coverage on some com or recce birds.

      I don't know the details, but they are tightening down somewhat. And IIRC, you could get small sets of elements without registering before, but had to register to do anything non-trivial.

      You might try this site: http://www.celestrak.com/NORAD/elements/
  • by apk (120253)
    The CNN article mentions:

    The Shenzhou III, which includes a simulated human complete with sensors to monitor conditions, is expected to return within days...

    For some odd reason this reminds me of Airport Security vs. Cyborg Steve Mann [slashdot.org], complete with a visual of Dr. Mann undergoing interrogation by some airport security lackeys, only to return home some days later with a bizarre, unbelievable story to show for the delay...


    Andy

  • by sharkey (16670) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:47AM (#3226550)
    ...has been forthcoming as to the identity of the dummy, but the Computing and Business worlds have their fingers crossed that it is Bernard Shifman. [petemoss.com]
  • but after last September you need to register to get it...

    Does this mean the terrorist factions have perfected use of the Tactical Long Range Spork Launcher?

    We must guard our satellites.
  • I am amused by the warning at the bottom of the second link:
    "WARNING!: U.S. Government Computer: If you are not authorized to access this system, disconnect now. You should have no expectation of privacy. By continuing, you consent to your keystrokes and data content being monitored. This message required by NASA GSFC CIO."
    I especially like the "You should have no expectation of privacy" part, at least they're honest about it... :-)
  • by bogasity (517035) on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @12:58AM (#3226586)
    The Chinese should pay attention to the failures of the American and Russian manned space programs. Strict government control of access to space results in the loss of public interest and ultimately the reduction of the program to tasks that have been done over and over before. If the public knows that they will never have the chance to go themselves they will not support the program over other national priorities; even national pride only lasts for so long. If the Chinese were smart, they'd design their space program to be self-sustaining using the dollars of Western passengers right from the start. The line of people hoping to fly on the October Soyuz mission to ISS keeps growing; send some of them up. Design for a large number of paying passengers right from the start; create the volume market.
    • you're assuming that the Chinese public cares about this, and even if they did, that the Chinese government would care that the Chinese people cared.
      I really can't see the Chinese government being swayed by public opinion unless it's some kind of revolution.
      So no, I think the Chinese government will probably keep on doing what they're doing, and really, space programs of today have more important things to do than cart rich Yanks around the globe a few times.
      Don't make the mistake that the Chinese are capitalist, or can be judged using a capitalist mindset. They're motivations are probably very different (and yet so similar) to our government's motivations.
  • China tests ICBM delivery system.

    There's a very fine line between manned spaceflight and dropping nukes on your ideological counterparts. Not that it is imminent or anything but I'm sure China would be a little more comfortable with a mutually assured destruction scenario (as opposed to simply being a target on the US nuclear hit list [globalsecurity.org]).

    Don't think for a second that club fed isn't keeping very close tabs on china's spaceflight program.

    TSX

  • I guess thats why CmdrTaco was chosen for flight dummy.

    In case you're wondering, Eunuched and Un-manned are not the same thing.

    --------------

  • I think the fact that the Chinese have their own manned space program going is the best thing to happen to the American space program in years. This country works best under pressure, and always has -- examples: WWII, cold war, moon race. When NASA was competing with the Russian space program, we did all sorts of cool stuff like the apollo program, the Viking Mars landers, the Voyager spacecraft. Even the Space shuttle, at the beginning.



    Now the Russian space program has imploded, and we haven't done jack for 15 years. The space shuttle has been flying for longer than the time between when Alan Shepherd flew and when the first shuttle flight, because the American manned space program has become complacent. Oh, okay, I guess we did blow $60 billion on a big pressurized can in space that people can go up to learn how to fix. . . But seriously, imagine if the Chinese were to start a program to return to the moon, or to go to Mars -- would we still be wasting our time and money on scientifically useless porkbarreling in Earth orbit then?

  • by grainofsand (548591) <grainofsand.gmail@com> on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @01:16AM (#3226648)
    For what it is worth, Shenzhou translates as Holy Vessel or Holy Ship.
  • As you read this China's third unmanned (except for a dummy)

    Ya gotta ask... nah it's too funny as it is.:)
  • by alizard (107678)
    I'm not entirely certain that the passenger is a dummy. There was a rumor floating around some years back that the first Russian missions allegedly "manned" by dummies actually were flying corpses, i.e. the life support systems didn't work as advertised.

    Perhaps the Chinese had the same problem and decided to spin the PR the same way.

    However, I hope this is not true and look forward to welcoming China to the "Man in Space" club.

    Of course, it would be nice to know that NASA is responding with the nanotube-based space elevator project or an orbital-speed railgun to allow undercutting China's prices by a factor of a few hundred and their own current pricing by a factor of a few thousand.

    • The Shenzhou III, which Chinese media described as being "technically suitable for astronauts", was launched after months of delays.
      This along with a few other quotes suggests that it was known before hand that it was a dummy flying it and not some poor shmuk who got hit with a broken life support. From the may they described all the passenger simulation stuff they had up there there would simply be no need for a human who might die and splash paint on your face. On the same note I would wonder about the rumor about the soviets seeing as how they likely said they were flying a dummy first. Although they certainly could have found "volunteers" I don't think I would be very willing to go on a space ride being only advertized as a dummy, I'd like them to have a little more confidence in the life support first!
      • Although they certainly could have found "volunteers" I don't think I would be very willing to go on a space ride being only advertized as a dummy, I'd like them to have a little more confidence in the life support first!

        It's amazing what you can do in a comand economy where you own the press. Convi^H^H^H^H Agent Yu would never know the difference, and what he thinks is unimportant. There is no truth without independent thrird party verification.

        To get a brief introduction to such horrors, check out "The Russian Centruy" by Barnes and Noble press. It's so bad that you want to dismiss it as propaganda, but there's so much that you can't. First hand accounts pile up on each other, each more terrible than the next, to support sweeping descriptions of mass murder, incompetence, waste, corruption, greed and indiference. The photos really bring home the scale and horror. Hundreds of cultures, were subsumed and nothing is so depressing as the bits of humanity that shine out from each picture. Smiles and triumphs of the suffering and doomed are more haunting than pictures of ruined churches and dead people.

        So as this rocket wizzes overhead, let us remember the horror that launched it. Forced labor, institutionalized atheism, idealology at gunpoint, "universal" education, intense secret police monitoring and all the other hallmarks of Communist super states are at work. You won't really know how bad things are until it's over and even then you will be left wondering. The truth is allways worse than honest people suspect.

    • These stories where all hoaxes. For more information I suggest you read this [rocketry.com] which explains the origins/myths of the so-called 'phantom cosmonauts'
  • by the_pres (313362)
    Oh, no!

    You have fallen into the trap! The only aim of this spacepod-show was the slashdotting of NORAD! You have compromised US security.

    Prepare to pay!
  • Throw our DNA into space,along with a map,

    Thats like an invitation to conquer earth.
  • Despite Chinese propaganda saying otherwise (and their use of Scientology-like "attack, never defend" philosophy in countering criticism of their government with criticism of ours), China's government is barbaric and tyrannical. And it seems to get worse with each iteration.

    This current regime has raided and destroyed "unauthorized churches," putting believers in prison for the horrible crime of practicing "unauthorized religions," such as Christianity.

    They routinely burn books, especially political and religious works.

    After their stupid one-child policy fell flat on its face, they decided to implement even stricter forced-abortion and forced-sterilization policies that are barbaric, irregardless of any "overpopulation problem" (a myth perpetuated by a Chinese government unwilling to defend its insane agricultural policies or corrupt system of land/wealth 'redistribution').

    Dissidents are either a) killed, b) jailed or c) sent to "re-education camps". Lovely.

    The US is loony to continue to omit China from the "Axis of Evil," especially considering that *they* are the up and coming threat. Bullshit diplomacy aside, the Chinese government has grown increasingly beligerent in the past decade, proportional to the level of technology they've stolen/developed. To applaud their entry into space using US stolen technology is ridiculous, unless you stupidly have faith in Bush's crazy missile shield. When the next cold war starts see how fucking "cool" it seems when ICBMs are pointed at your city.
  • America seems to have had uneasy relationships with China. As somebody interested in world peace I'd like us to be freinds.

    But as someone who is interested in space travel, I'd like to see those relationships remain uneasy.

    Since the last landing on the moon, no person has gone further then Earth's orbit.

    I'd love to see the Chinese put a colony on Mars so our Government would get off it's rear and see space as something more then a place to park satilites.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 26, 2002 @09:01AM (#3227511)
    The cheery attitude most of you have towards Chinese advancement is astonishing. Jiang builds China's wealth just like every other evil dictator has, by holding guns to workers' heads and telling them to toil and hand over the fruits of their labor graciously, or be imprisoned or shot. Farm communities in China that barely harvest enough to feed the village have their harvests snatched away for purposes of 'redistribution', which really means export for money through dummy companies, money that does not come back to Chinese farmers but instead gets cycled into the military or royal coffers. Because of this, the youth, who normally would work on the farms, go to factory work instead because there they are paid pittance which can buy food, food that Chinese should have already because they farmed it. Farms in China are just like the Matrix, "copper tops" for the government to abuse for cash purposes, and they have the side effect of forcing all youth to work in factories making textiles and machinery where they are not paid enough to keep their families alive. THIS is the money that is funding China's great space program, this money that has been washed in the blood of the citizens of China, money got through a bad system of forced indenture. And if you dare suggest that in China the penalty will be far worse than a mod to Flamebait or Troll, you will be chucked in jail and then either killed or sent to a concentration camp where your love of the Chinese government will be 'reinforced' through torture and brain-washing.

    And mistaking China's ambition for exploratory curiosity is a deadly mistake. Chinese rulers above all else are charged with the goal of unifying China at all costs, and that is what they strive for. The Hong Kong treaty expiration was great motivation, now China is pushing hard internally to get Taiwan once and for all. And once they get it they will treat it like Macau and Tibet, 'cleansing' it of unauthorized religions and beliefs through force of bullets, and then they will treat it like Hong Kong, twisting the fruits of its capitalism to serve greater China, forcing immediate socialism. This is the goal of China's space program. They want to be able to hit other continents with nuke missiles, or at least aim them. So next time they make land-grabs all around them, they do not have to fear retaliation from those countries' allies, because they do not think a nuclear war will ever be started over Taiwan.

    I am sorry for my multiple postings before expressing rage, but this is how I see it because I lived on a farm, I worked in a factory, and I am now a refugee because of my political views. China cannot have it both ways, they cannot keep sending students to America to learn technology while expecting them to dutifully return and put their knowledge to use for the furthering of China's goals. They cannot expect us to see freedom and then return to the bosom of terror voluntarily and without criticism. This is impossible. And I will criticize the policies of China until my last breath, because I know their true motives. Do not be fooled by their public speech. There is a concept in China, of inner and outer, where one face is presented to strangers while another is preserved for family. This is how it is. China presents nice outer face for world community, while inner face, presented to Chinese, is snarling and mean and cruel and hard. Do not be fooled. Do not support China and its race into space. They do not mean to explore, they only mean to gain new advantage to further abuse power here on Earth.
    • by holding guns to workers' heads and telling them to toil and hand over the fruits of their
      labor graciously,

      If the workers are being exploited, then they should rise up and overthrow the government, and form some sort of "workers paradise" in which they can all live in peace and harmony. Oh wait, they already tried that.
      • Ironic, isn't it? Revolutions intended to benefit one class - say, just the workers at the expense of the upper crust - tend only to produce a new exploited/exploiter distinction. Meanwhile, revolutions intended to benefit everyone across the board, deliberately allowing someone to be exploited if they so wish it, wind up reducing this exploitation overall.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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