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China Announces Manned Lunar Mission In 2017
GregM
post Nov 5 2005, 04:41 AM
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Several published reports today finally disclosed China’s much anticipated long-term human spaceflight aspirations. Audacious would be an understatement:

EVA in the next few years
A space station by 2010
Robotic exploration of the Moon
Human landing on the Moon by 2017
Helium-3 mining on the Moon
Observatories on the Moon

Bold? Yes. Difficult? Very. Expensive? Without a doubt.

Crazy? Maybe. Overambitious? Maybe. A ruse? Maybe.

Possible? Yes. If the national will to do so exists in the long-term.

Likely? Who really knows?

Very symbolically, the day before, the NASA administrator spoke before the relevant congressional subcommittee and told them flat-out that NASA simply does not have nearly enough money to carry out its mandate. They cannot fly the shuttle in any quantity, finish the ISS in whatever form, or get to the moon at all, with the monies currently available. Whether that needed extra money will ever come is still a very open question. Political support for human spaceflight in the United States is currently lukewarm at best, and outright hostile at worst. Essentially, if the United States as a nation and society does not recommit itself to human space exploration in the very near future, it will falter and possibly disappear from the endeavor over the next decade. This is not my prediction, but the prediction of many experts in the US.

Although predicting the future is foggy at the best of times, the general trend lines here are unmistakable: China is aiming to be a dominant, if not the dominant, player in human spaceflight. It may take time - but they will get there sooner or later. The United States on the other hand seems uncertain, or possibly unwilling, to remain a major player. It is currently in unmistakable decline, in spite of still being the current dominant space power. In 1985, the United States successfully flew 9 Space Shuttle missions in that year alone, including two just two weeks apart. Today, even if all the current shuttle technical problems did not exist, the US could not under any circumstances even come close to matching that ability. It is simply not physically able to do so any more, the institution has been allowed to atrophy and whither. It is in a state of not only negative growth, but negative development. If left on their current trends, those trend lines will meet and cross at some point in the future. The paradigm will have changed, probably permanently. When they will cross is open to debate, but the larger issue is the fact that if left unchecked, the trend lines will cross.

Does America have what it takes to reverse the trend? Does America care to? Will it become to human spaceflight what Portugal became to exploring the Americas 500 years ago? Or will it come back from its current state of decline?

Will we have to learn Mandarin to really get the most out of the next lunar landing by humans?
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Waspie_Dwarf
post Nov 6 2005, 04:45 AM
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2017 is a very optomistic target. The Chinese government has not yet given official approval for the development of the 25 tonne to orbit launcher that the Chinese lunar space programme would require. When the go ahead is given it will 6½ years in development.

China has not yet sent a space probe beyond earth orbit. Official approval has not yet been given to an un-manned lunar orbiter.

Shenzhou flights are occuring only once every 2 years. The first Chinese space walk will not occur until 2007. The first Chinese manned docking will not occur until the mission after that.

The USA came from behind to beat the Soviet Union to the moon. If we are in the midst of a new space race then the USA is miles ahead of China.

I suspect the only way we will need to understand Mandarin for the next moon landing is if the mission commander is a Chinese American.


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Steve G
post Dec 31 2005, 08:59 PM
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[quote= Un-needed quote removed
[/quote]


Shenzhou 6 basically duplicated the Soviet's 1968 Soyuz 3 and the Soviets at least had a Proton rocket to launch the Salyut space stations. China's not close to that capability, and based on the ludicrously slow pace of flights, neither the confidence nor political will. We would have to see a dramatic increase in launches and from what I understand, the first docking of two Shenzhous will be unmanned, meaning it could be something like 2010 before we even see a manned docking duplicating the Soviets' 1969 Soyuz 4 & 5.

It's exciting to finally see a third nation spread its wings into space, but they're just learning to crawl. On the moon in 2017? I wouldn't bet on it.
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ljk4-1
post Apr 10 2006, 04:24 PM
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The latest issue of The Space Review has an article titled
"China, competition, and cooperation" by Jeff Foust.

In it is discussed China's unmanned lunar plans, which seem
far more reasonable to happen in the next decade or so than
any manned plans - especially by 2017 - unless they undergo
some kind of crash course, which seems unlikely given their
slow and steady development pace from the past.

To quote:

And what about that lunar exploration program? Luo outlined China’s Chang’e lunar exploration program, which calls for an orbiter to be launched in 2007, a lander (perhaps featuring a rover, based on the illustration shown in the talk) in 2012, and a sample return mission in 2017. That timeline was something of a revelation for some in attendance at the CSIS presentation, although it was simply a reiteration of previous plans. And if to eliminate any uncertainty about that 2017 sample return mission, Luo added, “These are all unmanned missions.”

Full article here:

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/599/1


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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GravityWaves
post Apr 11 2006, 06:28 AM
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QUOTE (Waspie_Dwarf @ Nov 6 2005, 01:45 AM) *
If we are in the midst of a new space race then the USA is miles ahead of China.


You gotta be kidding me you can hardly call the USA dominant in space right now - we've been pleading with the Ruskies to keep US manned space flight alive,
how are you going to the Moon or Mars in the next months and years....with a Shuttle blink.gif ?

VSE right now is simply a billion dollar power-point show and a whole lot of technical and political probelms are staring to arise. Right now there is no CLV, no Heavy lift and no manned craft that can get our best astronauts Stars and Stripes back on the Moon....oh the shame mad.gif !

At this rate with all the sudden budget cuts we should expect a Chinese, ESA/EU or Russian flag to be laying claim to the lunar resources long before NASA gets to do an Apollo style re-enactment. Maybe even more degrading, Zubrin's China-chats will inspire Beijing and Mars will be named the Red-planet for many reasons mars.gif
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Apr 11 2006, 07:16 AM
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Pfaw. Luo has been asked repeatedly over the past few years about China's lunar plans -- and has emphasized repeatedly that they won't fly a sample-return mission before 2017, and that "these are all unmanned missions".
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GravityWaves
post Apr 11 2006, 08:27 AM
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Bruce, I'm not going to get drawn into politics like you tried to drive the other thread off-topic with your 'China is an evil dictatorship' posts and your anti-Chinese rants
but one should note that Luo's words are not set in stone, he is only a man in a much larger and more complex program and back in the late 80s and early 90s we really didn't know what to make of Chinese Space-projects. Some space writers looked at the offical statements coming from Beijing and therefore predicted robotic missions to the Moon and manned spacecraft in LEO but nobody knew the real date was it 2010, the year 2000 or 2015 ? The Shenzhou spaceflight came sooner than many early space analysts predicted, its now 2006 and we've already seen two astronauts do a Gemini style mission with Shenzhou 6. Plus we could see a change of communist leader ship in the near future that might follow a more aggressive and daring mission to the Moon - in some respects we should ignore much of what we read or hear on China, time will only tell where China is going and if they have the right stuff to fly to Mars or establish a future lunar-colony.
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Bob Shaw
post Apr 11 2006, 02:02 PM
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I'm delighted to say that, in my view, there *is* a new space race under way, and that NASA appears to be hell-bent on losing it to...

...the private sector, the rocket underground, the Heinlein Boys, call them what you will.

I bet the Chinese will deal more easily with those folk than ever they might with NASA!

Bob Shaw


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Remember: Time Flies like the wind - but Fruit Flies like bananas!
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Marz
post Apr 11 2006, 04:40 PM
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I'm confused. huh.gif

1. Why would another nation getting to somewhere before the USA/NASA be degrading to anyone? I realize during the 60's when the cold war was very real, there were important reasons to look technologically strong... but those reasons faded quite rapidly in the 80's. Manned space flight essentially faded with it.

2. I realize the Russians, Chinese, and ESA have very effective space programs... but from a science/research perspective, only the ESA and NASA are flying groundbreaking missions on any kind of regular schedule/plan. To flag-wave and say ESA beats NASA is kinda silly & stupid, since they work collaboratively on nearly all major missions.

3. Did someone bring up private sector trumping any other space program? Even assuming there was commericial interest in flying science missions, do we really want a pay-per-view system where data is hoarded and doctored and spun. It's been 50 years, and the only viable private space industry is commercial satellites. Nice, but I don't really care. I'd not really be too excited by strip mines on the moon, either.

4. It's probably healthy to be mistrustful/skeptical of governments that practice brutal censorship... as a general rule of thumb.
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PhilHorzempa
post Apr 11 2006, 08:05 PM
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As for a Chinese manned mission to the Moon, we should recall
the crucial help that Russia provided with the Shenzhou spacecraft,
which is essentially a modernized version of the Soyuz. In this regard,
let us recall that Russia designed, built and flight-tested (in Earth orbit)
a manned Lunar Module. It then seems likely that China could just as
readily purchase the blueprints for that vehicle. China would, of course,
modernize it, but would at the same time, save a huge amount of time
in starting a legitimate manned Moon program. As Russia demontrated
with their Lunar Module design, one doesn't need all of the bells and
whistles that Grumman's LM incorporated if you are planning a pioneer
trip to the Moon.
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Marz
post Apr 11 2006, 09:42 PM
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Thought this news story was an interesting twist to this conversation!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060411/ap_on_...ia_space_dreams
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ljk4-1
post Apr 17 2006, 06:43 PM
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http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-04/...ent_4436199.htm

China to test manned moon landing in 2017

www.chinaview.cn 2006-04-17 16:04:17

BEIJING, April 17 -- When can China realize manned moon landing? Ouyang Ziyuan, chief scientist of China's moon probing project and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, indicated that at present, the United States and the European Space Agency plan to make a moon landing in 2018 and 2023 respectively, while China will not implement its manned moon landing test and joint lunar base construction with related countries until 2017.

Prof. Ouyang said that the Chang'e I lunar orbiting satellite will be launched next year. The audience can watch the launch on TV within 10 to 20 minutes, and observation statistics will be immediately sent to nationwide important departments. This satellite will be used to acquire three-dimensional images of the moon, analyze characteristics of distribution of elements on lunar surface, detect the thickness of lunar soil and explore space environment between the earth and the moon. As exploring the thickness of lunar soil is an original idea of China, many foreign experts have consulted about the implementation of such a task.

Prof. Ouyang revealed that 10 countries including the US, Russia and Ukraine have instituted a plan to revisit the moon by now. When can Chinese astronauts land on the moon? "At present, we are still working on the initial planning of the moon probing project, which includes probing, landing and stationing; all are unmanned programs. During the second phase, China will strive to achieve the overall scientific goal of soft landing on the moon as well as inspection and exploration by a moon rover. The third step will serve to provide statistics for the follow-up manned moon probing and lunar base site selection.

(Source: Chinanews.cn)

Editor: Zhang Lihong


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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Bill Harris
post Apr 17 2006, 08:11 PM
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I'm not wanting to turn this into a geo-political yadda-yadda, but consider this: Russia may be growing tired of being considered a has-been superpower since the dissolution of the USSR, but can't afford a strong space program since their economy is down the tubes. If Russia wants to play cold war one-upmanship again, what she would do is give China enough technical support to trump the USofA.

--Bill


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ljk4-1
post Apr 17 2006, 08:28 PM
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QUOTE (Bill Harris @ Apr 17 2006, 04:11 PM) *
I'm not wanting to turn this into a geo-political yadda-yadda, but consider this: Russia may be growing tired of being considered a has-been superpower since the dissolution of the USSR, but can't afford a strong space program since their economy is down the tubes. If Russia wants to play cold war one-upmanship again, what she would do is give China enough technical support to trump the USofA.

--Bill


I posted the article mainly for what is mentioned in the second paragraph,
which should be of interest to UMSF members.


--------------------
"After having some business dealings with men, I am occasionally chagrined,
and feel as if I had done some wrong, and it is hard to forget the ugly circumstance.
I see that such intercourse long continued would make one thoroughly prosaic, hard,
and coarse. But the longest intercourse with Nature, though in her rudest moods, does
not thus harden and make coarse. A hard, sensible man whom we liken to a rock is
indeed much harder than a rock. From hard, coarse, insensible men with whom I have
no sympathy, I go to commune with the rocks, whose hearts are comparatively soft."

- Henry David Thoreau, November 15, 1853

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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Apr 17 2006, 10:07 PM
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The headline and first paragraph of that Xinhua news story are a total misunderstanding by the reporter (if not a deliberate distortion). What Ouyang actually said was that the "second phase" of Chinese lunar exploration -- which will, at some point in the completely undefined future, maybe culminate in a manned landing -- will begin in 2017, and that phase will involve "rovers and sample returns", which is exactly what they've been saying all along. He did NOT say that 2017 is the year in which testing of an actual manned lunar ship will begin, let alone that they will attempt a manned landing in 2017.
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