China has made history by manually docking a spacecraft in orbit, joining the US and Russia in accomplishing the feat. Report by Sam Datta-Paulin.
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The intention of this project is to stress the importance of advancing the space frontier and is focused on igniting scientific curiosity in the general public.
Tom Clarke, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of Uri Gagarin’s inaugural man-powered space flight, looks at the legacy of the space race and what we can expect ahead in the next 50 years.
I don’t really find this very surprising news considering how much China and Russia already work together in Space.
But not to be one-upped by the US Air Force and their recent not so secret test of the X-37, Russia and China are working on their own.
Here’s a mockup:
According to SUAS News:
A report published by China Aviation Journal, China has successfully launched its own space plane prototype, the news came out shortly after the US Air Force announced the successful test of their advanced X37B space plane, which is widely regarded as a next-generation super weapon that is even more dangerous than atomic bomb. This story has now been deleted.
Last year the X37 B was lost and found not once but twice by a South African amateur astronomer.
The Ming Pao and the Zhongguo Pinglun (China Review), a news website in Hong Kong, posted an article headlined “China succeeds in spacecraft test flight in tandem with U.S. X-37B” until early Tuesday, but no mainland Chinese media websites mentioned anything about it.
China’s “Hermes” Space Plane: A December 16 photo shows a model of the Shenlong and a new model of the Chinese “Hermes” space plane. China has made significant progress toward the development of an unmanned trans-atmospheric vehicle and a Space Plane. Beijing’s technological advancement has obvious commercial and scientific uses, however the military significance of the plane cannot be denied.
Very interesting indeed!
Space.com has an excellent article about the Space Race to the Moon. They’ve been able to peer into the Soviet archives and reveal the details on the super rocket that would ferry Soviets to the moon.
Here’s an excerpt:
Research that digs back over the decades is providing an illuminating look at the former Soviet Union’s failed bid to send cosmonauts to the moon.
Between February 1969 and November 1972, Soviet space engineers repeatedly saw any dream of landing a cosmonaut on the moon literally go up in flames.
A succession of four failures of the Soviet-built N-1 mega-booster led to the project’s cancellation by decree of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
A fifth launch of the super-booster was slated in the fourth quarter of 1974, one that gleaned lessons learned from the earlier unsuccessful flights.
Up in smoke and millions of rubles spent, the terminated N-1-L3 space project was to be topped by a lunar system to support a two-cosmonaut crew on a maximum flight time of 13 days to the moon and back to Earth, with one crew member setting foot upon the lunar surface.
This is an interesting development that even United Space Alliance admits is a long shot.
From USA Today:
NASA contractor United Space Alliance is preparing a long-shot bid to continue flying the shuttle as a commercial service after the space agency completes its last three planned missions this year.
Starting as soon as 2013, after construction of a new external tank, the lead operator of NASA’s shuttle fleet proposes to fly twice a year with Atlantis and Endeavour at a cost of under $1.5 billion a year.
If supported, the plan would reduce an anticipated gap of at least four years between launch of the last shuttle mission this year and availability of new privately run crew taxis, a period during which astronauts will depend on Russian spacecraft to reach the International Space Station.
“We thought this was a good option to be put on the table to be evaluated with all the other commercial options, since it’s a vehicle that has really proven itself,” said Mark Nappi, head of Houston-based USA’s Florida operations. “It is safe. We have a lot of history, we understand how to operate it.”
To avoid giving the company’s employees false hope, however, Nappi has told them the proposal is “very much a long-shot.”
NASA had no comment on the idea.
It think it’s a fantastic idea but it pretty much has a snowball’s chance in hell of happening.