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Space China

Chinese Crew Completes Manual Docking With Orbiting Module 119

A few days back, the crew of the Shenzhou 9 were along for the ride as their craft docked to — or rather, was docked to — an orbiting module. On Sunday, the docking procedure was repeated, but under the direction of the Chinese astronauts themselves rather than controllers on the ground.
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Chinese Crew Completes Manual Docking With Orbiting Module

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  • by nzac ( 1822298 ) on Sunday June 24, 2012 @06:12AM (#40427703)

    Supposedly this is an advancement on an automated docking. Can someone fill me in or is this just media spin?

    • Computers are now so advanced that all we can do as humans is try to keep up.

      Actually I don't think they've done automated docking yet. The first was manually done from the ground, now it's been manually done from space. Maybe the next step is automating it.

      • Computers are now so advanced that all we can do as humans is try to keep up.

        Nonsense. From my experience computers always do what we tell them. Ipso facto, we're always ahead

        • Nonsense. From my experience computers always do what we tell them. Ipso facto, we're always ahead

          "Ah, but they don't, do they? You say 'keep an eye on that lamb,' and they do - they sit there for three hours and watch it burn." -- Rimmer (Red Dwarf)

    • In the first episode of TNG, Riker has to dock the two parts of the Enterprise manually. Maybe the Chinese like Picard so much.

    • by Animats ( 122034 )

      Not really. Docking has been done automatically, manually by an onboard pilot, and remotely. Russian spacecraft since 1985 have used the Kurs system (which they now have to buy from Ukraine, at a somewhat inflated price). That's a full-auto, straight-on approach system, and has a good track record. The US used onboard pilot control for final shuttle docking. The Dragon spacecraft was remotely controlled into a close position to the ISS, then grabbed with the robot arm.

      Docking can be complicated. Until

  • What is a "manual docking" anyway? Are they using paddles? Or maybe maneuvering by intertia provided by throwing wrenches around?
  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Sunday June 24, 2012 @07:29AM (#40427963) Homepage Journal

    Competition is good, and it looks like the Chinese are proving very competitive in the space race. I'm sure there will be those who claim they "stole" the technology, but regardless of how they acquired the ideas, it's still the Chinese people and industry who are making it work. And as we all know from the failed launches of other nations, even having access to an internet full of historical designs and ideas doesn't make space technology work.

    Only solid efforts and tenacity do that.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Absolutely correct. The Chinese deserve congratulations and well-wishes. What they've done is momentous. ANYthing that gets ANYone into space is good -- in the long run, we're all human and we need to get off this rock!

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 24, 2012 @10:13AM (#40428925)

      What do you mean "stole" the technology? As part of the red scare from 1950, the US government blacklisted the guy that created the first step rocket at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and later became their director, and when the guy wanted to leave got instead five years of house arrest and was exchanged for American prisoners in the Korean war.

      This brilliant episode of American realpolitiks effectively exported the whole US rocket program (including nuclear carrier technology) to China in a felling swoop. At least the guy was decent enough to start the development of the chinese program from soviet designs instead of just ripping the US ones that he ** design himself.

  • Nice Job China (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dolphinzilla ( 199489 ) on Sunday June 24, 2012 @07:43AM (#40428021) Journal

    Having grown up on the Florida space coast watching Saturn V's and Space Shuttles since I was 6 - I can see the pride and excitement in the faces of the astronauts and spectators and I remember what that felt like. It's hard for me to not be a little envious. Have we "advanced" now that Obama Administration killed our manned space program (after promising not to BTW) ? I don't know.... Despite the great success of SpaceX I am skeptical that commercialized space will ever make enough money to survive without government subsidies, only time will tell. But congrats to China for a job well done, enjoy it while you can !

    • Re:Nice Job China (Score:5, Insightful)

      by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Sunday June 24, 2012 @09:43AM (#40428691)

      Have we "advanced" now that Obama Administration killed our manned space program

      Son, every administration since Nixon has driven nails in that coffin.

      • fair enough - but this administration dug the hole, tossed the coffin in, and threw dirt on top of it. I guess I have a different perspective on it growing up in the shadow of rockets and going to school with the kids of genuine rocket scientists. It's honestly what made me choose engineering as a career and I was lucky enough to work on the expendable side of things back in the late 80's. I personally believe that space exploration is one of the very few areas that government SHOULD be doing - only the

        • by strack ( 1051390 )
          Yeah. Cause no commercial airline that has lost passengers and large, expensive jumbo jets in a plane crash is still operating today, right? Man, you sure do spout some crap. You even threw some 'think of the children' in there too. Seriously.
          • You cite an industry that has oversight by the FAA for that reason, yes an airliner is a pretty powerful thing too, in the wrong hands it can take down a skyscraper. A rocket is a COMPLETELY different thing - when they go wrong there isn't some guy at the controls who can try and avert a school or a shopping mall, yes they have (most have) command destruct capability, but things can go wrong there too. A large booster loaded with solid rocket fuel, cryogenic fuels, or hypergolic fuels is not something you

        • by cusco ( 717999 )
          In all honesty, I personally think that the Bush Madministration's joke of a "space initiative" should have had a stake driven through its heart before it ever got through Congress. As if slightly inflating the Apollo Command Module and claiming it was a revolutionary new design were not enough they had the audacity to name it 'Orion', perhaps in an attempt to make people forget the first proposed practical interplanetary spacecraft. Oh well, they got what they wanted, a pile of money shoveled into the co
    • by PNutts ( 199112 )

      Have we "advanced" now that Obama Administration killed our manned space program (after promising not to BTW) ?

      [Citation needed] - There may be one, I just can't find it.

      What I did find is an article describing his administration's committment to manned space flight. [] Even though we're not launching men now doesn't mean we don't plan to. The vision he described in 2010 is coming true with the recent SpaceX achievements.

    • by strack ( 1051390 )
      Spacex was entirely privately funded. The Falcon 9 was entirely privately developed. No government subsidies involved. And it is profitable without 'government subsidies', selling commercial satellite launches. Time has told, and it says the shuttle did too little for what it cost, and the ares rocket was shaping up to be more of the same, so the obama administration axed it and gave a contract to spacex to do the same for a fraction of the cost, and spacex is delivering. Deal with it.
    • Gads, Dolphin. You used to be over on screaming about O as well, making loads of wild assertions then.

      So, again, manned space program is certainly not dead in NASA. Never has been. We have several ppl up in space.
      Secondly, O promised to NOT kill manned space. It is doing just fine. W and you neo-cons killed the shuttle. And your same group killed constellation. The EARLIEST that Ares I would have flown was 2017 and it was already looking to slip again. br> Third, it is you neo-cons that are
  • pu-lease (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    How short a memory so many have. If it were not for the "sharing" of guidance system technology in the not so distant past (Clinton era), the Chinese may have not been able to get off the ground successfully, let alone operate in space. Now we are so in debt to China, and have allowed them to manufacture so many of our high-tech products, no wonder they have "caught-up" in such a short time (relatively easy when you can steal what you cannot invent on your own). Yes, you congratulate your competitors when

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Stop being delusional.

      The "Americans" didn't invent the pyramids, nor did they invent vaccines, nor created philosophy and neither invented the sliced bread. Everything you have came from foreign roots. Stop acting like you bring light to the world. And start thanking all those who made the world work before 1492.

      China is known for millennia for just caring about their things. When did you hear the Chinese went for world conquest? Have you ever heard of some Chinese wanting to take over Europe like the Arab

      • (and as I've seen once put a label written "Proudly inspected in the USA"... can one be more lame?)

        For me, what's lame is what Apple puts on their products: "Designed by Apple in California."

        • by PNutts ( 199112 )

          Why? Both jobs are important, but there is a certain pride to being the guy with the slide rule instead of the guy with the screwdriver.

          • Because it's obvious the product was 'Designed by Apple.' It's a freakin' Apple product. That, and they're obvioulsy obfuscating the fact it's "Made in China." Even if a Dell laptop is assembled by an ODM it's still "Designed by Dell."
            • It's not necessarily obvious - more than 60% of the Boeing 787 (without engines) was not designed by Boeing but by its risk sharing partners...

    • Thankfully, the Chinese shared their firework technology with the west, thereby helping the US develop rocket technology.
    • ...the current situation as similar to a hostile takeover. A big company with lots of cash (China in this analogy) buys out a company deep in debt (USA), strips it of its most valuable assets, fires most of the employees, closes the company, then moves on to the next target.

      Funny you should say that. It appears that China is also advancing embracing free-enterprise at a rapid pace.

  • by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Sunday June 24, 2012 @09:02AM (#40428367)
    The linked article shows the astronauts wearing pressurized suits, I suppose that's just a precaution, or maybe they keep them on all the time?

    Liu Wang took charge of the operation, while Liu Yang conducted aerospace experiments

    ... and Jing Haipeng was heard singing "Louie, Louie" in the background.

    • The crew of Soyuz 11 were killed by a depressurization accident that occurred during undocking (I believe the separation of one part of the Soyuz capsule from another) and the collision of a Progress craft with Mir caused a loss of pressure. Wearing spacesuits when you are doing docking stuff is a very good idea.
  • Its only a little space station, and its only a docking. Yes, the US did all this years ago. But what have you done since?

    Whatever else you may think of the Chinese government, it's manned space program is excellent. Despite a low launch rate, it is inaccurate to describe it as slow. Each individual mission is a significant step forwards, whereas in the comparable stage in the US/Soviet space race, large numbers of similar missions were being flown.

    They are being methodical and efficient. Every mission they

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.