Thursday, 29 September 2005

China's Forthcoming Space Twofer

From Space Daily:

Liftoff next week? Or possibly later in the month :
China's second manned space flight could be launched as early as next week, according to one report Sunday by state media.

Xinhua news agency said the two-man flight could be launched during the week-long holiday starting on National Day on October 1.

But a China News Service report from Hong Kong said Shenzhou VI would take off for a five-day flight from the Jiuquan launch center in the northern region of Inner Mongolia on October 13.
The China News Service report said the launch was scheduled for 11:00 am (0300 GMT) on October 13 but the time could change due to weather and ongoing preparations.
Hu's on board? Actually no, it's likely Zhai and Nei :
China's state-run press on Wednesday named the likely astronauts to pilot the nation's second manned space flight tenatively scheduled to be launched during the first 20-days of October.

"At present, the team of Zhai Zhigang and Nie Haisheng has the biggest possibility of undertaking the task of piloting the Shenzhou VI," the Shanghai Morning Post said, citing unnamed space experts.
"At present the Shenzhou VI is still undergoing the testing of its systems, but it can be confirmed that the launch will happen in the first 20 days of October," the paper said.

The timing matched the "likely" date of October 13 that was reported on Sunday by the China News Service.

And in the "Obvious in Hindsight" department, NASA's chief admits that building the Shuttle they did was a mistake. So was deliberately making the ISS dependant on it.
The US space agency NASA lost its way when it focused on the space shuttle and Space Station, NASA chief Michael Griffin has told the USA Today daily in a story published Wednesday.

"It is now commonly accepted that was not the right path," Griffin said. "We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can."

Asked whether the shuttle had been a mistake, Griffin told the daily: "My opinion is that it was. It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible."

Asked whether the space station had been a mistake, he said: "Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we're building in the orbit we're building it in."

Griffin announced September 19 that the United States will send four astronauts to the moon in 2018 in a major return to its pioneering manned missions into space.
Well, readers of this blog would have found out in excruciating detail exactly how screwed-up the Shuttle situation was in an article I wrote in August 2003. Over two years ago.

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