Friday 25 July 2003

Shi.. Ju.. Ba..

From Space Daily comes some important news to watch for in coming months. The Orbitting of the first Taikonaut.
BEIJING (AFP) Jul 23, 2003
China is on schedule to launch its first manned spacecraft in October, becoming only the third nation to send a human into orbit, officials involved in the program said Wednesday.

"The current plan is that Shenzhou V will be launched in October but it is very hard to say the exact date," an official at the China Rocket Research Institute told AFP. "Many factors will affect the decision."


Space experts believe the Shenzhou is a copy of the Soviet-era workhorse, the Soyuz, albeit enlarged and updated in key areas such as the life-support and computer systems.

Chinese officials however have denied this, saying the spaceship is totally designed by China.
I believe the Chinese. The story of China's space program makes fascinating reading by the way. Blame Tailgunner Joe McCarthy for driving China's equivalent of Von Braun out of the USA.

As regards why I believe the Chinese, just have a look at the similarities between the Soyuz A design and General Electric's Apollo D module.

That particular shape is probably the best one for ballistic-re-entry spacecraft, and will no doubt be used and re-used in the future. A Soyuz-shaped design that is "enlarged and updated in key areas such as the life-support and computer systems" is a completely new design.

The Chinese Manned Space programme has proceeded slowly, carefully, one step at a time. And it has proceeded very successfully so far as the result.
Oh yes, the title of this post is a phonetic rendering of "Ten..Nine.. Eight.." in Mandarin, courtesy of this page on Chinese Numerals

No comments: