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Space Earth Science

China To Snap 4 Space Ships Into a Station 340

Posted by timothy
from the legoland-space-edition dept.
hackingbear writes "According to a report by Hong Kong newspaper Mingpao Daily (poor Google translation), quoting the Director of Jiuquan Launch Center, China is set to build a space station by snapping together four spaceships (Shenzhou 7, 8, 9, and 10), to be launched sequentially. Though other reports indicates that taikonauts abroad SZ 7 will return to Earth on September 28, the official said the ship will remain in the orbit to be docked with unmanned Shenzhou 8 and 9. Finally, the manned spaceship Shenzhou 10 will be launched and dock with the other three, completing the space station." A story at Space.com also briefly mentions Shenzhous 8 and 9 (with no mention of number 10), and adds that China has selected its first spacewalker.
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China To Snap 4 Space Ships Into a Station

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  • by ccccc (888353) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:24AM (#25039529)
    Does anyone else find the practice of using the foreign-language version of "astronaut" a bit annoying? It seems a bit bizarre.

    A Chinese astronaut is... an astronaut. A Russian astronaut is... an astronaut. You'll notice that during the Olympics, Chinese athletes were still called "athlete."

    Why arbitrarily translate some words into the foreign language?
  • No, No, No! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:26AM (#25039565) Journal
    China doesn't snap space ships together to make a space station, it secretly fits engines to its space station and uses it as a ship and plans to refuel on Europa.
  • by clone53421 (1310749) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:28AM (#25039611) Journal

    Since the rest of the summary was written in English, I doubt very much that anyone would be confused.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:34AM (#25039707)
    A Chinese astronaut is... an astronaut. A Russian astronaut is... an astronaut.

    You mean: A Chinese cosmonaut is... a cosmonaut. An American cosmonaut is... a cosmonaut. After all, Russians used the name cosmonaut first, the Americans user astronaut to be different. Cosmonaut makes more sense anyway, at least until we have a manned flight to the stars
  • by neonprimetime (528653) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:37AM (#25039759) Homepage
    I was reading about the fighter pilot china chose ( http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/080916/world/china_space [yahoo.com] ), and this is crazy ...

    A 42-year-old fighter pilot has been chosen to become the first Chinese person to walk in space... Zhai Zhigang, a colonel in the People's Liberation Army...His pressurised spacesuit, which cost up to 100 million yuan (15 million dollars), is largely based on Russian designs and will include two lifelines that will supply oxygen and communications

    China is spending millions on space suits and America is spending millions on bailing out big corporations. Strange how that works, huh?
  • by Erwos (553607) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:45AM (#25039873)

    So, let me get this straight: the Chinese do something that both Russia and the US have done something like 30-40 years ago, and they're suddenly leaders in the space race? Seriously, talk about extrapolating way too much from a single event.

    The US has a relatively concrete, well-funded plan to do the lunar base. Complain as you might about Bush, gutting NASA was not one of his many sins.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:49AM (#25039945)
    Watch that 'relatively concrete, well-funded plan' go out the window after the elections. People like exciting NASA plans. People don't like paying for exciting NASA plans.
  • by swb (14022) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:50AM (#25039957)

    China is spending millions on space suits and America is spending millions on bailing out big corporations. Strange how that works, huh?

    Maybe they should spend that to keep people from putting melamine in their food.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:52AM (#25039983)

    What the US has done in Iraq is orders of magnitude worse than what China has done in Tibet.

    Has it occurred to you that the parent coward could be against both China's human rights abuses AND the war in Iraq? Why in the world is it okay for China to act like a dick just because you think the US has acted like a dick?

  • Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zerth (26112) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @10:52AM (#25039985)

    Instead of wasting all that thrust getting big liquid/airtight tanks into space only to let them fall back down, somebody will use them to expand our spaceborne volume.

    Spacestations would be much cheaper if every rocket became an addon, even if they were only useable as liquid storage. Larger air capacity=less crisis when the scrubbers/recyclers fail.

    Hell, grew some veggies in them, cut down on the vitamins we have to ship up.

  • by mangu (126918) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:08AM (#25040213)

    Russians used the name cosmonaut first, the Americans user astronaut to be different

    The Russians never went beyond navigating in the cosmos itself, the Americans actually reached a heavenly body. This wasn't the original intention, but the terms "cosmonaut" and "astronaut" actually describe more or less the most advanced accomplishments of each country.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:08AM (#25040223)

    You've already pissed away your advantage. You just haven't realized it yet.

  • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:18AM (#25040363)

    So what? They can call it whatever they want in their language. (You think that the Chinese word for "Taikonaut" is actually "Taikonaut"? Think again!) English words for foreign people are still English words.

  • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:20AM (#25040407)

    Because people, as a whole, are jackasses and morons who don't think, they rationalize.

  • Long term planning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zmooc (33175) <zmooc AT zmooc DOT net> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:25AM (#25040501) Homepage

    It's simply the most logical thing to do. Launching stuff into space is so incredibly expensive that scrapping the stuff or even bringing it back to earth makes absolutely no sense financially. I've never understood why there has not been some prior planning to do this with just about any spacecraft. We'd have had a space city by now and if something broke, it could be ditched after all. Even stuff that's completely useless at the moment could still come in handy later on.

    In space useless crap is worth billions, you just have to keep it around long enough to find a use for it. There's more than enough space up there to do that;-)

  • by wcrowe (94389) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:30AM (#25040579)

    This brings up an interesting point. Fifty years ago, we had a similar view of Japan. That is, that they just made cheap little trinkets, but REAL manufacturing was done in the U.S. Then, almost overnight, they began making extremely good quality automobiles, electronics, optics, etc, and did it at less cost. I think we'll soon see the same pattern with China.

  • by samkass (174571) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:35AM (#25040663) Homepage Journal

    The Chinese are not as stupid as you seem to think. Of course they're not going to start from scratch when there is so much historical data, designs, and expertise available for sale right next door. It seems like the Chinese space technology took the best-of-breed (ie. mostly Russian) technology and modernized it using Chinese "indigenous spaceflight capability". I'm not sure why you jumped on this as somehow anti-Chinese, but it strikes me as by far the most intelligent thing to do. (After all, the US is licensing Russian technology to hold us over after the Shuttle retires, and we're not stupid either...)

  • by mweather (1089505) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @11:38AM (#25040705)
    We're not speaking Greek, either.
  • by RudeIota (1131331) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:12PM (#25041241) Homepage
    As the parent pointed out, Chinese, Russians etc.. have their OWN words for "astronaut"... kosmonavt [wikipedia.org], taikong ren [wikipedia.org] etc... ****naut isn't what they call their own astronauts.

    A 'taikonaut' is actually what "English people" (mostly media, I imagine) call a Chinese taikong ren. I would assume translators and english-speaking media do so because languages based on a different alphabet systems are difficult to pronounce and spell phonetically... And while astronaut would be just fine with me, I guess there is some need to supplement 'naut' (which seems to imply 'explorer') with a version of their native word for space.

    Personally, I'd like to see the word 'astronaut' used instead of flavor_of_the_month_onaut, because that's what they are in English.. an astronaut. Shame on the translator for making arbitrary, cultural concessions.
  • by Free the Cowards (1280296) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:33PM (#25041691)

    I think the real issue is that space travel is still intimately tied to nationalism. You would never come up with different words for "pilot", because pilot is just a job. But "astronaut" is a job which is deeply tied into the massive penis-comparison space game between nations.

  • Re:Voltron! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ambiguous Coward (205751) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:33PM (#25041699) Homepage

    And also for subsequently pointing out that you pointed out that we aren't speaking Russian. I bet this comment, however, gets modded as flamebait. :P

    -G

  • by Polumna (1141165) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @01:10PM (#25042445)
    To be fair, 1) I think part of the point of the discussion about the 'taikonaut' word is that it's not in the article and yet it's used in the summary and 2) this is hardly the first Slashdot discussion to venture into tangentially related (or not even related) off-shoots, re: Tibet, Iraq, etc.

    Your fundamental point, however, is sadly accurate. I like to believe it is because we are a young country in an identity crisis. In recent historical memory, we somehow "won" the cold war, displaying the triumphant values of capitalism over the evil soviet states. Plus, the Judeo-Christian god was on our side, remember? Yet now, having rested on our laurels as the obvious best-country-in-the-world, our economy is now faltering and a communist country, of all things, is eating us for lunch by almost any meaningful metric. I think it's natural, if a little sad, to display some of the behavior you're seeing.

    I assume from your spelling of the word 'programme' that you are either British, Irish or Australian. The UK (particularly regarding India) and the Irish (particularly regarding each other) hardly behaved in an exemplary fashion in their historical beginnings. I don't really have anything on Australia apart from the poor treatment of aboriginals that we are also horribly guilty of, but... Australia is really far away. :)

    Here's hoping we manage to grow up as gracefully as our European forebears, and without truly global-scale world wars. As always, remember that some of us at least try to be a little more forward thinking, not that I think you actually need the reminder. And please forgive any blatant sanctimoniousness.
  • by Neoprofin (871029) <neoprofin@NOspam.hotmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @01:19PM (#25042593)
    I would ask WTF is wrong with people who think that "Americans" function as a cohesive unit that can be brought to task for the actions of any single voice. It's also quite a bold (and I would bet everything I own, wrong) assumption that everything you're complaining about from this article was posted by Americans.

    It's a discussion about Chinese space plans, how is discussion of other operators in the same arena not relevant and welcomed? Why did you come here if all you wanted was a "Good for you, China. I wish you the best." What's wrong with talking about how the US would have more money for similar projects if their wasn't a war in Iraq, or how China is such a media darling these days despite a terrible record of violence and oppression? What's wrong with talking about how the media is making up names for astronauts based on nationality for no real reason?

    In short, why have "discussion" about topics if you only want to talk about them in a vacuum, a fantasy world where the only source of information, opinion, or impact, is from the article posted.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:09PM (#25043277)

    "The Chinese are not as stupid as you seem to think. Of course they're not going to start from scratch when there is so much historical data, designs, and expertise available for sale right next door."

    And they didn't have a Nazi doing the job for them.

  • by jguthrie (57467) <jguthrie@broker[ ].com ['sys' in gap]> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:24PM (#25043499) Homepage
    If you want a well-funded NASA, be sure to write your congresscritter. Say what you want about the president, he doesn't write nor does he pass the appropriations bills.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @02:40PM (#25043775)

    Every reasonably sized nation has blood on its hands, comparing tragedies quickly becomes pointless. I'd say the U.S. is pretty comfortably in the "big leagues" as far as historic human rights abuses and deaths are concerned. The only thing we can do is try and make tomorrow better.

  • by PinchDuck (199974) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @03:44PM (#25044807)

    As an American, I've been wondering that myself. Our country seems obsessed with looking at our past glories and bitching about our present state, and only blames others (it used to be Japan, now it's China) for our current mess. As a country, we need to pull our heads out of our asses, figure out how to solve our problems, and execute on the solutions. Will we do it? I don't know. I hope so.

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