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China Space News

China Plans Manned Space Mission This Month 168

Posted by Soulskill
from the more-the-merrier dept.
jamstar7 writes "From an Associated Press report: 'China will launch three astronauts this month to dock with an orbiting experimental module, and the crew might include its first female space traveler, a government news agency said Saturday. A rocket carrying the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft was moved to a launch pad in China's desert northwest on Saturday for the mid-June flight, the Xinhua News Agency said, citing an space program spokesman. The three-member crew will dock with and live in the Tiangong 1 orbital module launched last year, Xinhua said. The government has not said how long the mission will last.' China, who is not an ISS partner, plans to see if its Shenzhou 9/Long March 2F system can get the job done like the Dragon/Falcon9 system can. They plan on two missions this year to dock with their Tiangong 1 module, which was launched in September 2011. Their eventual plans include building a complete space station by 2020, though one of only about 60 tons, compared to the ISS's 450-ish tons."
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China Plans Manned Space Mission This Month

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  • by axlr8or (889713) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:08PM (#40270983)
    USA legal teams develop relationship with patent troll Lodsys. Strategy? Wait for China to succeed in space and then sue their butts off for patent infringement.
  • Does anyone have a clue why they want to do it by them selves?
    I applaud the DIY mentality there, but it doesn't seem to be the easiest / cheapest thing to do. And on this level "because they can" is just seems ludicrous.
    Anyone?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Rakishi (759894)

      Why did the US spend billions upon billions to go to the moon? Why did we strive so hard to beat the Soviets there?

      The answer to those are the same reason the Chinese are doing it alone.

      • by Macrat (638047)

        Why did the US spend billions upon billions to go to the moon? Why did we strive so hard to beat the Soviets there?

        The answer to those are the same reason the Chinese are doing it alone.

        China is in a cold war with Russia?

        • by Lisias (447563)

          China is in cold (economic) war with the rest of the World!

          • Actually, just with the west. They are working hard to take over the rest of the world via economic means, and when it fails, then they are using their military (right now, it is constrained to Asia, but that will change).
        • They're in a cold war with every major power on Earth. It's an economic and technological war rather than a shooting war, but the principal is the same - you beat on your chest and shout "We are mighty!" to inspire your own people and make your opponents nervous. China has been an also-ran in the world for a long time, significant only because of the sheer size of their population. Their development and economic growth has been phenomenal over the last several decades, but they started out so far behind

    • by Cazekiel (1417893)

      Does anyone have a clue why they want to do it by them selves?

      Why not? We did, and our economy sucks harder than theirs. Some things we've done are a combined effort, but in the beginning it wasn't just by ourselves, but a race. It may as well have been Space Olympics.

      But I do agree, everyone coming together would get more done. Maybe we'd actually learn to play nice, as well.

      • by khallow (566160)

        But I do agree, everyone coming together would get more done.

        I strongly disagree. Competition is more effective. Sure you need cooperating groups to do big projects like this. But having just one such group doesn't usually work. There's not much incentive to try harder, because there's little benefit to doing so. In a competitive environment, trying a little harder than your opponents might net you considerable gains over them. And you can always compare your progress to that of your opponents.

        • Competition is good for some things, but not all. For instance, there are ideas which can't be done by just one group/country due to massive amounts of $$$ needed, amongst other things. An expedition to Mars would need a collaborative effort, going by what it'd take to get there.

          I think it's a little sad to think that a figurative dick-waving is what you have to do in order to get anything done, the idea that "haha, we're better than you!" urging us on instead of, "OMG, if we'd all stfu and combine resource

          • by khallow (566160) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @09:57PM (#40271705)

            An expedition to Mars would need a collaborative effort, going by what it'd take to get there.

            Based on what? Fantasy estimates from NASA? My take is that with a cheap, heavy lift launcher (such as Falcon Heavy [wikipedia.org] which is claimed to be able to put 50 metric tons into LEO), we could do an indefinite series of manned missions to Mars (say one to two manned missions to Mars every two years) on what the US pays for the ISS, roughly $2 billion a year. That's a bit too ambitious for private groups (who could do a scaled-down version of this), but easily affordable by a number of government.

            I think it's a little sad to think that a figurative dick-waving is what you have to do in order to get anything done, the idea that "haha, we're better than you!" urging us on instead of, "OMG, if we'd all stfu and combine resources, we could be on Mars by such-n-such a year!"

            I don't really care, if "peen" is what it takes to go to Mars. Seems good enough a reason for me.

            • Apollo was 119 metric tons into LEO, if I am not mistaken. It definitely should be bigger.
              • by khallow (566160)
                That's 2.5 launches of the Falcon Heavy for a small fraction of the cost of a Saturn V. I heavily favor multiple launches and orbital assembly over larger rockets.
            • 50 tons isn't nearly enough. The Saturn V had a 119 ton capacity to LEO, and managed to land a tiny lander on the Moon. Mars requires a much heavier capsule, heavier lander, and much larger delta-V, even for a one way trip with short stay on Mars.
              • by khallow (566160)
                As we saw with the International Space Station, one can assemble a larger structure in space than one can launch from Earth. NASA put up a 450 ton structure with launches from a vehicle that could handle less payload than the Falcon Heavy can lift.

                One of the claimed features of the Falcon Heavy is that it is vastly cheaper than anything that has ever flown, something like $2500 per kg to LEO in 2010 or so dollars (for max payload of 53 metric tons). Even if we completely ignore inflation, that's a factor
            • by ultranova (717540)

              I don't really care, if "peen" is what it takes to go to Mars. Seems good enough a reason for me.

              It isn't. A dick-waving contest was enough to go to the Moon. When was the last time anyone went there? Where are the moonbases and space habitats?

              The problem with dick-waving contests is that the goals tend to be symbolic gestures with little actual value. No, putting a man on the Moon wasn't a "giant step for mankind". It was a PR stunt. Perhaps if the moonflights would had been sustained... but they weren't,

            • If you're willing to irradiate the crew all to hell, yes. Spending 2 years outside the Van Allen belts is no picknick.

              • by khallow (566160)

                If you're willing to irradiate the crew all to hell, yes. Spending 2 years outside the Van Allen belts is no picknick.

                Of course, I'd be willing to irradiate the crew. But at levels that are relatively safe. Remember "dose makes the poison". We have effective to reduce radiation exposure.

                • We have effective to reduce radiation exposure.

                  No we don't. There's no way we can launch enough shielding to be effective, and a magnetic field of effective size also requires more mass and power than we can launch.

                  • by khallow (566160)

                    No we don't. There's no way we can launch enough shielding to be effective, and a magnetic field of effective size also requires more mass and power than we can launch.

                    If that were true, then you'd have a point. It's not. I didn't claim we'd reduce radiation exposure to zero. Just that we have ways to reduce radiation exposure so that it's not a serious health issue on the flight.

    • Re:Question... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by M1FCJ (586251) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:21PM (#40271057)

      They don't want to. They wanted to join the ISS but a certain North American country said "get lost".

      • by Delarth799 (1839672) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:36PM (#40271121)
        Those damned Canadians and their selfish ways!
      • by Teancum (67324)

        Both Russia and Japan (ISS partners) were very cold to the idea as well. It wasn't just the "North American country" that was the problem. About the only ISS partner that didn't have a problem with China joining was Brazil... a real power-house among the ISS partners.

        Another problem China faced is that they wanted to put up their own modules and wanted to do the docking on their own. A very real concern is that China, with their vast experience at in-orbit rendezvous and orbital construction being brough

    • Re:Question... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:22PM (#40271063) Homepage

      If you try to do it with the US, it would never happen. Just ask the Europeans [sciencenews.org]. It's not like they're on great relations with the Russians, the only other country that can put humans into space.

      So you're left with the Iranians, North Koreans and a couple of crazy amateur [copenhagen...bitals.com] in Denmark.

      Sounds like solo is the best approach.

    • One reason I can think of is that, as the summary mentioned, they want to show the world they can launch things into orbit safely and reliably. Sending up people is a good way to do that.

    • Re:Question... (Score:5, Informative)

      by cyfer2000 (548592) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:48PM (#40271185) Journal
      China wanted to participate the ISS in 1990s, but China had no money and no technology at that time, and China could learn too much knowledge from participating the ISS at that time, so China was denied participating the ISS project.
    • Because they believe it to be a strategic long-term interest of theirs, and don't want to rely on other countries - which are neutral at best and potentially hostile at worst - to provide the technology that they can withdraw support for later?

      China has a DIY mentality in many areas lately. In the military, for example, they are steadily converting everything to their own designs and standards (which are often based on old Soviet tech, but developed further... a smart idea) - planes, tanks, even small arms

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        They are converting things to cheaper designs, because only India can match their numbers, and the Indian people are not as willing to be thrown at a problem. China's tactic is the Zerg rush.

    • by poity (465672)

      It's because the US Congress objects to the Chinese space program having access to the ISS. China has for years applied for access to the ISS, and the US has blocked it every time. That on the surface sounds pretty elitist and bigoted, but their reason is that the Chinese space program is still very much controlled through the PLA, and therefore not a civilian research organization like NASA, ESA, JAXA. I'm not sure why it would matter, though, since a civilian organization run by the government would still

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

      Does anyone have a clue why they want to do it by them selves?

      You've hit the RIGHT question !!

      China had to DIY because nobody, not USA, not Europe, not even Russia, will permit them to join the ISS

      Ever wonder why the ISS was visited by a middle eastern prince but never any citizen from China?

      Because there is an unwritten, but strictly enforeced rule, that no citizen of China is permitted to step inside the confine of the ISS

    • The US doesn't want them to be part of the ISS due to perceived risk of technology stealing.

  • this female astronaut, will she be hot

    google search for candidates seem to indicate, hell yeah!

  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @07:57PM (#40271219) Homepage
    What I find most interesting is the difference between the Chinese Space Program and organizations such as the ESA, NASA, and POCKOCMOC (Russia) is the amount of secrecy. Whenever any of the other space agencies makes a manned launch, you normally hear about it years before the actual mission flies, and the crew assignment is normally announced shortly after the mission is. With China, you hear about it almost days before launch day!
    • by khallow (566160) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @08:55PM (#40271463)
      I consider this a symptom of a serious, but by no means unique problem with the Chinese space program. Namely, that the leaders responsible for the program are extremely risk adverse. Various governments manifest this problem in various ways. The US government, for example, does a great deal of soul-searching and blame-finding when things go wrong.

      Here, China, much as the Soviets did, attempts to hide failure. They don't mind killing people, but they do mind greatly any negative publicity.
    • That's just China.. (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not really that it's the Chinese Space Program being secretive, that's just China.

    • China has been publicizing their space station plans for years though, with a timeline. The exact dates of launches isn't that important.
    • by longk (2637033) on Saturday June 09, 2012 @11:20PM (#40272001)

      Are you kidding me? The mission was announced in 2002. With the date being narrowed down as time passed. The use of a female astronaut was announced in 2004. Nothing secret about it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That simply isn't true. They have a (public) plan and (AFAIK) are following it. Here, I even found you a link: http://science.slashdot.org/story/11/12/30/016203/china-reveals-its-space-plans-up-to-2016/ [slashdot.org]

    • In fact, their space stations is never to have citizens in it. It will ONLY have military personnel in it. Basically, their space station is our MOL, but they see a reason to build it, while we never built it.
      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Back in the day all US Astronauts were ex military pilots too. The Chinese system is similar.

        Also note that they wanted to join the ISS, but the US blocked their participation.

  • Obligatory Onion:
    " China Launches First Willing Manned Mission Into Space "

    http://www.theonion.com/video/china-launches-first-willing-manned-mission-into-s,14273/ [theonion.com]

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @12:07AM (#40272155)

    Less because I think china will do anything meaningful in space exploration at least for a long time to come. But Americans in particular take space more seriously when they think they're competing for it. So this could mean a serious reprioritization of resources in favor of space exploration by the US.

    Again, I think it's great the chinese are interested and I wish them the best. I think it's great that more countries are getting involved. I just think in the short term the best news here is that it's likely to get more established countries more involved as well.

  • It's all a ruse!

    Just like the pc game Homefront :) except with China instead of North Korea...

    The "space station" will detonate a massive EMP over the U.S. disabling much of the nation's grid preparing the way for invasion.

    Most all our national debt is owed to China and they are coming to collect.

    At least let me make sure my tinfoil hat is on straight.

    • Their plan to collect... is to destroy all our stuff?

      • by Cito (1725214)

        thats how it usually works

        if you don't pay the irs they destroy your life by other means :P

        don't pay the loan shark he breaks your legs.

        If China don't get paid, they'll break our legs eventually.. starting with sanctions, shutting off trade to the U.S. would destroy what little economy we have left, next would be a takeover..

        if you don't pay IRS they take your shit,

        eventually if we have no money to pay China, they'll come take our land in lieu of payment just like a foreclosure works if you don't pay your h

  • by Animats (122034) on Sunday June 10, 2012 @01:27AM (#40272371) Homepage

    They previously put a small habitat into orbit. Now they're sending some people up. The US had Skylab, the USSR had Mir, and China is now doing something in roughly the same scale. Why not?

  • So does this mean that the Chinese will be the ones who will invent the next Tang, Teflon and Velcro?

    . . . and even more exciting urban legends?

  • AFAIK, one of the drivers behind the man on the moon mission was because Russia was busy with the same thing, so this may actually restart the NASA funding.

    However, I'm concerned because every nation "up there" has been amusing itself with saturating the place with satellites for various purposes (not in the least military), and now another club is joining - one that now holds all the cash.

    It's getting uncomfortably crowded up there, and if something gets out of orbit a hard hat won't exactly be enough. Th

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