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  Shenzhou 9: Viewing, comments and questions (Page 1)

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Author Topic:   Shenzhou 9: Viewing, comments and questions
Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-11-2012 04:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Shenzhou 9: mission viewing, questions, comments
This thread is intended for members' comments and questions about China's Shenzhou 9 mission and the updates posted under the topic: China's Shenzhou 9 mission to Tiangong-1.

China's Shenzhou 9 spacecraft will liftoff with three crew members — including the first female "taikonaut" — to dock with the Tiangong-1 orbiting module.

SkyMan1958
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posted 06-14-2012 05:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Boy, this mission is a LOT longer than I thought it was going to be. According to today's People's Daily Online the mission's duration was extended from 53 to 59 days... so roughly the equivalent of Skylab 3 (or Skylab II depending on how you want to designate it).

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-14-2012 06:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I believe that may be an error, either in translation or understanding. The People's Daily Article is a reprint of the original Xinhua report, and most other articles (from Xinhua and others) puts the mission at about two weeks long (between 12 and 14 days).

Robonaut
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posted 06-15-2012 03:17 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robonaut   Click Here to Email Robonaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
At the pre-launch press conference Friday morning the crew were confirmed as:
  • Jing Haipeng
  • Liu Wang
  • Liu Yang
The first named is the commander who will become the first Taikonaut to fly two space missions having previously flown on Shenzhou 7 in 2008. Liu Yang is to be the first female taikonaut.

eurospace
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posted 06-15-2012 06:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for eurospace   Click Here to Email eurospace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have yet to see any information about specific mission data planning, such as the when the docking, undocking, EVA's, landing is planned. Anyone has a reliable source?

SkyMan1958
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posted 06-15-2012 11:59 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SkyMan1958   Click Here to Email SkyMan1958     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here is a link from the People's Daily Online with multiple further links dealing with Shenzhou 9 and the Chinese Space Program.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-15-2012 11:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by SkyMan1958:
...the mission's duration was extended from 53 to 59 days.
An explanation courtesy a member (Chen Lan) of a different forum:
59 days is not the mission duration. It’s the cycle of ground testing in Jiuquan. It was exactly the number of days from SZ-9's arrival at JSLC to rolling out to the launch pad, excluding the May 1st holiday, the arrival day and the rolling out day — assuming they worked in all weekends.

Robonaut
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posted 06-16-2012 04:41 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robonaut   Click Here to Email Robonaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Launch of Shenzhou 9 is now less than an hour away and the countdown is running smoothly.

dom
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posted 06-16-2012 06:00 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for dom   Click Here to Email dom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A fitting tribute to Valentina Tereshkova on the anniversary of her historic flight.

Go Taikonettes!

issman1
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posted 06-16-2012 06:55 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Watched the evening launch live on TV and the imagery rivalled that of NASA shuttle launches, between 2005 and 2011. Russians should try to match the Chinese in Soyuz exterior shots.

jasonelam
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posted 06-16-2012 02:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find it interesting that the articles I have been reading state in their headlines "China sends first woman into space." I would say Valentina Tereshkova might disagree.

I watched the launch this morning, and it was great to see the Chinese making such great strides in their program. Here's hoping the flight is a success!

KAPTEC
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posted 06-16-2012 02:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KAPTEC   Click Here to Email KAPTEC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My best wishes for the crew. They are making history in space mission flights. Go ahead!

And I hope they will join in the future with the rest of the astro/cosmonauts of the world.

MrSpace86
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posted 06-16-2012 09:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is it safe to say that China is opening up a little more to the public regarding their space program?

KAPTEC
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posted 06-17-2012 06:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KAPTEC   Click Here to Email KAPTEC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I think that they feel the need to show all the World what they are capable to do...

Cliff Lentz
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posted 06-17-2012 07:02 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was really blown away by all the coverage. I believe this is the first time that we have been shown an ingress into the spacecraft.

Nationality aside, it's really great to watch a launch. It is a little strange that the Chinese program so imitates the Russian program. Their flight suits are almost identical... spacecraft interiors seem the same.

I find myself in the very early morning hours of Father's Day, searching the internet for any info and images I can download. I guess I'm secretly hoping to find some collectible out there as well.

jasonelam
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posted 06-17-2012 08:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for jasonelam   Click Here to Email jasonelam     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone know the difference in the specs between the Shenzhou and Soyuz descent modules? Seems like the Taikonauts have more room in the module.

KAPTEC
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posted 06-17-2012 01:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KAPTEC   Click Here to Email KAPTEC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
And anyone knows what kind of propellant uses the Long March rocket? Why it has no plume behind it during the ascent?

ilbasso
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posted 06-17-2012 01:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide.

MrSpace86
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posted 06-17-2012 09:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have said before that the Chinese Program is a carbon copy of the Russian Program. It's unfortunate that they could not come up with an original design for a spacecraft or spacesuits.

What's even more mind boggling to me is that they spent such a long time and so much money on just trying to duplicate existing technology. $100 million can get you a brand new, original design if you are SpaceX.

That being said, I still think it's nice that they are opening up to the world. They just look a little silly now that a private company can do it with less money, less time, and with no need to copy anyone.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-17-2012 09:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
SpaceX itself might disagree. Their Falcon and Dragon vehicles would be far more expensive and perhaps even impossible for them to build were it not for the decades of research and development accomplished by NASA. Elon Musk has said as much on numerous occasions.

Their hardware may take different shapes, but SpaceX's rockets and capsules are built on the legacy of the U.S. space program.

China openly admits to basing their hardware on the Russian space program but they haven't just used off-the-shelf parts. The designs may look similar, but they've upgraded their spacecraft to meet their program's needs. In some ways, the Shenzhou is said to be more advanced than Soyuz, even in its latest incarnation.

quote:
Originally posted by MrSpace86:
It's unfortunate that they could not come up with an original design for a spacecraft or spacesuits.
Why reinvent the wheel? Innovation over invention can be the more efficient, wiser way forward.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-17-2012 11:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by jasonelam:
Anyone know the difference in the specs between the Shenzhou and Soyuz descent modules?
According to Wikipedia:
The Shenzhou reentry modules used to date are 13 percent larger than Soyuz reentry modules.
By the numbers (again, according to Wikipedia), the Soyuz descent module has a habitable volume of 3.5 m³ versus Shenzhou's 6 m³.

MrSpace86
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posted 06-18-2012 01:04 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Pearlman:
Innovation over invention can be the more efficient, wiser way forward.
I agree with you to an extent. But at what point can you say something is original and something is an "upgrade"? Sure, SpaceX built their hardware thanks to what was learned from 50 years of US manned spaceflight, but Dragon certainly does not look like ANY previous American Spacecraft. Nor does the Falcon look like a Saturn rocket. Are these vehicles upgrades or originals?

All am I saying is that China could have at least tried to make it look more original. Buran could have (or was) been better than the American orbiters since it was an upgrade as well, right? Innovation and invention are two very similar words and ones I would never use to describe certain space programs.

And you and Leroy Chiao seem to agree on this approach. As one of my aerospace professors would say during his lectures: "Is it ethical? Most certainly not. Is it legal? Of course it is!"

Aeropix
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posted 06-18-2012 03:05 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Aeropix   Click Here to Email Aeropix     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I watched the launch video with some interest and noted that there were a lot of elements of the US program in there as well as the Russian's. It seems like the Chinese have taken a lot of elements from both programs.

Look at the vehicle assembly building, looking strikingly similar to the US version.

Note that Chinese rockets are transported to the pad vertically, rather than horizontally, like the US.

Note the rotating service structure on the launch tower, and that the top of the launch tower has the rotating arm which served at the gaseous vent purge in the US shuttle program.

Even the flame tranches bring back memories of the US launch complex, rather than the unidirectional flame trench of the Russian program,

So is it just me, or does most of the ground infrastructure seem to resemble Cape Canaveral to a striking extent?

KAPTEC
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posted 06-18-2012 07:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KAPTEC   Click Here to Email KAPTEC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Here you can find a lot of pictures inside the Tiangong-1.

East-Frisian
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posted 06-18-2012 11:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for East-Frisian     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks for sharing that.

issman1
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posted 06-18-2012 12:00 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Seeing those three Chinese astronauts floating inside Tiangong-1 reminds me of when the STS-88 shuttle crew boarded the infant ISS in December 1998.

But one notable difference was that part of the interior of Tiangong appears to be elastic with lots of hand and foot holds. Has the Chinese space programme learned from the experience of ISS crews when it comes to creature comforts?

KAPTEC
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posted 06-18-2012 12:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KAPTEC   Click Here to Email KAPTEC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ilbasso:
Hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide.
Thank you for the answer. It surprised me a lot not seeing any plume during the launch.
quote:
Originally posted by East-Frisian:
Thanks for sharing that.
My pleasure, issman1.

spacenyc
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posted 06-18-2012 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for spacenyc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From the live broadcast on CCTV:

star61
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posted 06-18-2012 03:43 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for star61   Click Here to Email star61     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I find this quite exciting! watching a new nation take its baby steps. I have to admit to being surprised though, by the flexible floor and the obvious attempt to have a local "up and down"!

Not the best use of the freedom microgravity presents. As an aside, I remember how Mike Collins thought Armstrong looked oriental in zero-g and so wondered if the oriental crews would look western?

Prospero
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posted 06-19-2012 06:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Prospero     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
But one notable difference was that part of the interior of Tiangong appears to be elastic with lots of hand and foot holds. Has the Chinese space programme learned from the experience of ISS crews when it comes to creature comforts?
My guess would be that those flexible surfaces are removable panels, installed for a couple of reasons.

The first reason would be to protect the equipment behind the panels when it's not in use — remember it's a pretty confined space, so an astronaut's foot or elbow is bound to collide with something it shouldn't now and again.

The secondary reason is probably to hide the equipment from the view of the public (and more importantly foreign intelligence agencies) when they're broadcasting.

Jay Chladek
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posted 06-20-2012 12:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MrSpace86:
I have said before that the Chinese Program is a carbon copy of the Russian Program.
Lets give the Chinese some credit that they are due. That Long March CZ-2F booster they are using for their manned flights sure as heck doesn't look like any Russian booster I've ever seen. Proton is about the only thing close, given that both it and Long March use hypergolic propellants. But the Proton didn't use strap on boosters at all and Long March does. The Soviets later also moved away from using hypergolics years ago except for the Proton itself (which they need for heavy lift) after a couple pad disasters.

In the case of every manned capsule system, if one wanted to, things could be paired down to being based off of something else. The reason for that is aerodynamics and behavior of certain shapes at reentry speeds. Even the Soviets with their Soyuz came to the same conclusion about capsule shapes that the Americans did in the 1960s when they went with a bell shaped descent module. A bell shape, like something that looks more like a blunt cone is more likely to right itself with the blunt end facing forward on reentry, even if other means of righting the craft don't work. The Soviets proved that practically on Soyuz 5 with Volynov's front first reentry.

My point is, don't just dismiss what the Chinese have done as being a "carbon copy" outright. Sure they may have started with plans and assistance in the early days, but somebody in China still had to build and fly that stuff, tweaking it along the way. I certainly doubt that an off the shelf Shenzhou could be strapped to a Russian R-7 rocket and launched into orbit without some major rework along the way (including a diet since Soyuz is at the uppermost limit of what an R-7 can loft).

Tiangong 1 sure as heck doesn't look like any space station I've seen before. Sure in some ways it is probably based on Vladimir Chelomei's Almaz/Salyut core design (which still is used on the ISS as Zvezda), but this thing is smaller by comparison and lighter weight than the 20 ton Soviet stations that needed Proton to send them into orbit. You can't fit much into something like that. Closest analogy to it might be one of the proposals that ESA had for a Columbia free flyer lab module intended for their Hermes shuttle program.

Sure, we in the west may dismiss China as a country that makes "cheap junk" and carbon copies. But we have said that about other countries. First there was Japan in the 1950s, when everyone dismissed their goods as being cheap junk. They kept at it though and dominated the tech and car markets in the 1980s. South Korea was next when they introduced their Hyundais and Kias to the world. But today they make some pretty dang good cars which are equally as good as (if not better than) some of the Japanese stuff. So now we have China, a country of the largest population in the world in control of their own destiny.

One thing to keep in mind guys, space could care less about what nationality a spacecraft comes from. It doesn't care if the thing is government flown or privately funded. If there is some weakness in a spacecraft design, it will find it and exploit it, potentially to the point where people could get killed if it is a manned design (just ask the Americans and the Russians about that). This is a business that doesn't tolerate failure and has very little tolerance for simple mistakes.

So by that token, if the hypothetical country of "Jay Chladek land" desired to start up a space program of its own, it might be more inclined to cherry pick the best of what was already out there to start with rather than trying to reinvent the wheel entirely. Design revolutions might be real game changers, but slow and steady design evolution is usually the path that most space programs take (and there are plenty of design evolutions in the SpaceX Dragon, they just happen to be put into something that looks "revolutionary"). So the "carbon copy" approach in some ways is not a bad idea at all. But it certainly isn't going to magically take care of the problems that have to be overcome. Any good engineer will tell you that when you alter a size or change the manufacture of something, it may not behave like the old design did and it could throw in its own share of problems along the way.

MrSpace86
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posted 06-20-2012 06:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I guess I will go make a new site called "spaceCOLLECTION", base it off of collectSPACE with similar colors, menus, and even message boards, but I will make a few improvements to make it "better". I am sure everyone will join my site and call me an innovator. Again, ethics vs legality. Although, I am sure I would probably be sued if I did something like that.

If I read correctly a few months ago, they obtained some of the spacesuits from the same manufacturer that Russia uses. They also admit to reverse engineering the Sokols. Yet when other countries try to reverse engineer American technology, everyone cries bloody murder. Again, good for them for all their accomplishments, but a lot of this program just does not seem original or even unique.

Robert Pearlman
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posted 06-20-2012 07:28 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
You seem to be missing a key point: China partnered with Russia. They didn't steal the Russian designs: the Russians sold them to China.

If China had done anything improper, Russia would waste no time calling them out on it. Instead, Russia has been applauding China's success.

issman1
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posted 06-21-2012 12:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by MrSpace86:
...a lot of this program just does not seem original or even unique.
How many Americans know that US military and reconnaissance satellites are routinely launched into their secret orbits by the Atlas 5, which uses the Russian-built RD-180 dual-nozzle engine on the first stage?

Sierra Nevada's Dreamchaser is a carbon-copy of NASA's own HL-20 assured crew return vehicle which the European Space Agency tried reinventing as Hermes. Sacre bleu! Nothing wrong with innovation if it gets you from where you are to where you want to be. All space development can be perceived as plagiarism otherwise imitation is still the sincerest form of flattery.

MrSpace86
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posted 06-21-2012 03:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MrSpace86   Click Here to Email MrSpace86     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
imitation is still the sincerest form of flattery.
That is very true. And I guess Robert is right... the Russians have for some reason allowed and helped the Chinese. Ugh, I hate it when I get shut up.

Jay Chladek
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posted 06-21-2012 04:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jay Chladek   Click Here to Email Jay Chladek     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Actually, the HL-20 derived "inspiration" from the Soviet BOR-4 lifting body space interceptor design. Part of the reason for that is when the HL-20 design was being developed, NASA designed to do a little reverse espionage and based HL-20's shape on the BOR-4 as a bit of revenge for the Buran obviously being "inspired" by the Space Shuttle design. One could argue that BOR-4 traces its own roots back to the lifting body research conducted by NASA and the USAF in the 1960s, so it is kind of hard to draw a conclusion as to who copied whom.

I'm not too clear on whatever happened to the Hermes design and engineering data after that program was cancelled. Although I imagine one of the aerospace companies in Europe likely did stick it in a drawer to perhaps dust off for use one day.

As for Dreamchaser, it started its life as HL-20, but it has evolved a bit and while the family resemblence is still there, it is rather different shape-wise in a few key areas now (nose shape primarily). If Sierra Nevada succeeds in their drop tests, they will have done something NASA never did with HL-20 to my knowledge, which is an actual aerodynamic test in real world conditions of the Dreamchaser's aerodynamic shape.

As for my hypothetical spacecraft design, I probably didn't express my point clearly. Say somebody gets a set of drawings to build something. That gives them a blueprint to follow, but it doesn't automatically mean they will get something that will perform exactly like the original. Modifications are made, and every one done throws in an unknown that an engineer has to account for (in ways that aren't expected or anticipated in a lot of cases). So a "copy" will still have to be tested the same as the original to make sure it works.

That is one of the things that I've dreaded when I hear how some private company is going to get us into space soon because they have "dusted off plans" for some design that NASA or the Air Force abandoned (or are making an "all new" Gemini capsule design). Sure, there may be wind tunnel data on the design that you can use and it may get you some cost and time savings. But a good engineer is going to have to verify that the original data was good. And if modifications are made along the way, then it is no longer "just like the original" is it? If there is a weakness, the space environment is going to find it.

ilbasso
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posted 06-21-2012 09:38 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for ilbasso   Click Here to Email ilbasso     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by issman1:
How many Americans know that US military and reconnaissance satellites are routinely launched into their secret orbits by the Atlas 5, which uses the Russian-built RD-180 dual-nozzle engine on the first stage?

Likewise, the SR-71 spy plane was built with titanium secretly purchased from the USSR, which at that time was the world's primary source of the metal.

BBlatcher
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posted 06-21-2012 05:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for BBlatcher     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Is there a page that gives daily updates or some such on Shenzhou 9? No new information seems to have been released since it docked.

Robonaut
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posted 06-22-2012 03:21 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robonaut   Click Here to Email Robonaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BBlatcher:
Is there a page that gives daily updates or some such on Shenzhou 9?
China Central Television's website CCTV News (English version) is providing regular updates.

Also the Chinese News Agency Xinhuanet (also in English) has good coverage.

issman1
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posted 06-29-2012 11:10 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for issman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As with the Shenzhou 9 launch, the Chinese excelled themselves with their landing coverage. If only the Russians bothered to make Soyuz look as telegenic.


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