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China To Snap 4 Space Ships Into a Station

timothy posted about 6 years ago | from the legoland-space-edition dept.

Space 340

hackingbear writes "According to a report by Hong Kong newspaper Mingpao Daily (poor Google translation), quoting the Director of Jiuquan Launch Center, China is set to build a space station by snapping together four spaceships (Shenzhou 7, 8, 9, and 10), to be launched sequentially. Though other reports indicates that taikonauts abroad SZ 7 will return to Earth on September 28, the official said the ship will remain in the orbit to be docked with unmanned Shenzhou 8 and 9. Finally, the manned spaceship Shenzhou 10 will be launched and dock with the other three, completing the space station." A story at Space.com also briefly mentions Shenzhous 8 and 9 (with no mention of number 10), and adds that China has selected its first spacewalker.

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Hmm (5, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 6 years ago | (#25039469)

I dunno... I used to build those "snap together" model kits. They really might want to consider going with cement.

Re:Hmm (4, Funny)

oneiros27 (46144) | about 6 years ago | (#25039537)

But if they use cement, they can't separate until they're needed to reform Voltron again.

Voltron! (5, Funny)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 6 years ago | (#25039519)

I'm sorry, I couldn't help it. I tagged this with "voltron"

-G

Re:Voltron! (1)

Twyst3d (1359973) | about 6 years ago | (#25039545)

Beat me to it

Re:Voltron! (4, Funny)

AioKits (1235070) | about 6 years ago | (#25039803)

I want to be the fifth spaceship that flies up to join, simply so I can scream, "And I'll form, THE HEAD!"

Re:Voltron! (1)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 6 years ago | (#25039829)

Read a little further down. Turns out, that's what SZ7 is for.

-G

Re:Voltron! (1)

AioKits (1235070) | about 6 years ago | (#25040181)

Well crap. I'm out of the Voltron job now... Wonder if the Power Rangers need anyone.

Re:Voltron! (2, Funny)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 6 years ago | (#25040353)

I hear that pink has an opening *rimshot*

-G

Re:Voltron! (1)

dunnius (1298159) | about 6 years ago | (#25039859)

Or they could be using the Lego space sets to make the space station.

Re:Voltron! (1)

mmullings (1142559) | about 6 years ago | (#25040129)

They were worried about the lead-based paint...Oh wait

Re:Voltron! (2, Funny)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 6 years ago | (#25040051)

Insightful, really? I mean, really? That was not what I had in mind...

-G

Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (5, Insightful)

ccccc (888353) | about 6 years ago | (#25039529)

Does anyone else find the practice of using the foreign-language version of "astronaut" a bit annoying? It seems a bit bizarre.

A Chinese astronaut is... an astronaut. A Russian astronaut is... an astronaut. You'll notice that during the Olympics, Chinese athletes were still called "athlete."

Why arbitrarily translate some words into the foreign language?

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (1)

foniksonik (573572) | about 6 years ago | (#25039577)

Maybe the constituent syllables of the word have a different meaning in that language.. one that is irreverent or confusing?

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#25039611)

Since the rest of the summary was written in English, I doubt very much that anyone would be confused.

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (2, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#25040363)

So what? They can call it whatever they want in their language. (You think that the Chinese word for "Taikonaut" is actually "Taikonaut"? Think again!) English words for foreign people are still English words.

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25039695)

You're not alone. It's a piece of idiocy that will hopefully go away once we've got about six spacefaring nations.

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (4, Funny)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 6 years ago | (#25039771)

You just want to deny people their rightful national pride at launching the first Canadian Beavernaut ... shit, even the Firefox spelling checker refuses to recognize the word!

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25039959)

Al

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roberta_Bondar

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (4, Funny)

billybob2001 (234675) | about 6 years ago | (#25040091)

the Firefox spelling checker refuses to recognize the word!

You're probably running an old version of Firefox.

You can check your version from the Help menu: "Aboot Mozilla Firefox" ;-)

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 6 years ago | (#25040143)

Canadian Beavernaut?
Isn't that some greasy North of the border porn?

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (5, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | about 6 years ago | (#25039707)

A Chinese astronaut is... an astronaut. A Russian astronaut is... an astronaut.

You mean: A Chinese cosmonaut is... a cosmonaut. An American cosmonaut is... a cosmonaut. After all, Russians used the name cosmonaut first, the Americans user astronaut to be different. Cosmonaut makes more sense anyway, at least until we have a manned flight to the stars

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (0, Flamebait)

clone53421 (1310749) | about 6 years ago | (#25039933)

We're not speaking Russian.

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (5, Funny)

teh kurisu (701097) | about 6 years ago | (#25040063)

We're squabbling about which Greek-derived term to use, based on the language we're currently using?

It's true what they say about arguing on the internet, apparently.

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25040183)

"Cosmonaut" is not a Russian word, it's the direct English translation of the Russian "kosmonávt".

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (1)

nschubach (922175) | about 6 years ago | (#25040451)

So, what's the direct translation of taikonaut, so I can start using that?

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (3, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | about 6 years ago | (#25040213)

Russians used the name cosmonaut first, the Americans user astronaut to be different

The Russians never went beyond navigating in the cosmos itself, the Americans actually reached a heavenly body. This wasn't the original intention, but the terms "cosmonaut" and "astronaut" actually describe more or less the most advanced accomplishments of each country.

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25040243)

Cosmonaut makes more sense anyway, at least until we have a manned flight to the stars

You mean until astral travel is is an acknowledged state of mind recognized by the world-wide scientific community... Stars are still in the Cosmos - hence KOCMOHABT... 'cuz we're still the first.

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25040483)

Yeah and Taikonaut is a pretty cool name! And, if you look to the US economy, I think that US astronauts will soon begin to be called by their "owners" terminology, so they will become US Taikonauts as well...

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (2, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | about 6 years ago | (#25039765)

Astronauts are considered "home team".

Cosmonauts = evil russkies.

Now that China is the other bogeyman country, we have to give their astronauts a different name to distinguish them. Hence taikonaut.

Try to keep up with the propaganda will you? ;)

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (1)

c6gunner (950153) | about 6 years ago | (#25040239)

What the heck do we call the Indian astronauts, then? Gandhinaut? Bollynaut?

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25039929)

Probably to emphasize the dick-waving competition between different countries. I guess politicians might try to use it to generate interest, for people that aren't interested in space for the sake of space.

It really is kind of silly, but oh well. A little bit of patriotism isn't so bad. Unfortunately, here in Canada there isn't very wide-spread use of any Canadian alternatives (ie: Connaught, Canuckanaut, Ehstronaught)

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | about 6 years ago | (#25040355)

An early word for balloonists was 'aeronaut,' which might have been the inspiration for 'astronaut.' Athletes have been around for a long time, so the language surrounding them has had plenty of time to settle down. Manned space flight is still relatively new in terms of linguistic evolution, so the language is still in a little bit of flux. It used to be that aviators were just people involved in the actual operation of the flying machine, but once passengers started travelling on planes we stopped talking so much about aviators and instead referred to distinguish between crew and passengers with different words for each. We'll soon see the same thing happen with space flight I think, I mean, are you really an astronaut if you take a flight on Virgin Galactic?

Re:Taikonaut, cosmonaut and astronaut (2, Interesting)

vampire_baozi (1270720) | about 6 years ago | (#25040421)

Especially since Taikonaut is an annoying abbreviation, at that. Space should actually be åç© (tai4 kong1). Guess having a double ng-n (taikongnaut?) wouldn't roll off the tongue as quickly.

but I thought??? (0, Troll)

Coraon (1080675) | about 6 years ago | (#25039535)

I thought china helped in the ISS, why don't they just use the ISS as opposed to spending the money on building lego in space?

Re:but I thought??? (2, Informative)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#25039671)

They don't. They wanted to, and given that the shuttle replacement is falling behind schedule and relations with Russia are putting access to Soyuz in jeopardy, having an alternative means of getting there would be great. Pity the west had to be petty about it.

Re:but I thought??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25039729)

Yeah, the West is sure petty about its human rights and environmental concerns. Just petty.

Re:but I thought??? (0, Troll)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#25039783)

What the US has done in Iraq is orders of magnitude worse than what China has done in Tibet. Over a million more people have died during the occupation than would've died in a comparable period under Saddam.

And environmental concerns? Per capita western countries pollute a lot more than the Chinese do.

Re:but I thought??? (4, Informative)

jmichaelg (148257) | about 6 years ago | (#25039877)

Tibet? Tibet was peanuts. Ditto Iraq.

  If we're talking deaths, let's talk about "the great leap forward" or the "cultural revolution." Now we're in the big leagues.

Re:but I thought??? (3, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 years ago | (#25039983)

What the US has done in Iraq is orders of magnitude worse than what China has done in Tibet.

Has it occurred to you that the parent coward could be against both China's human rights abuses AND the war in Iraq? Why in the world is it okay for China to act like a dick just because you think the US has acted like a dick?

Re:but I thought??? (4, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | about 6 years ago | (#25040407)

Because people, as a whole, are jackasses and morons who don't think, they rationalize.

Re:but I thought??? (1)

IanHurst (979275) | about 6 years ago | (#25040413)

No no, you don't get it. Only one nation at any one time can be evil, and it must be absolutely so, and every other nation at that time must be its equal and absolute opposite. Duh!

MOT PARENT UP (0)

Hurricane78 (562437) | about 6 years ago | (#25040471)

How blind can some people be???

I wonder why they use the term "taikonaut" (1)

the_humeister (922869) | about 6 years ago | (#25039551)

In Chinese, it literally means "space person", which is what they call all professional space-faring people (eg astronaut, cosmonaut, etc.) no matter what their respective countries call them. So why don't we just call them all "astronauts"?

Re:I wonder why they use the term "taikonaut" (1)

robaal (1019298) | about 6 years ago | (#25040127)

'cause it sounds cool?

China To Purchase (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25039559)

U.S.A. [needlenose.com]

No, No, No! (5, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 6 years ago | (#25039565)

China doesn't snap space ships together to make a space station, it secretly fits engines to its space station and uses it as a ship and plans to refuel on Europa.

Re:No, No, No! (0, Troll)

belligerent0001 (966585) | about 6 years ago | (#25039979)

Are they going to their whole population with them? If so I am all for it...Hell I will even help them pack.

Re:No, No, No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25040199)

It would be much easier if they just took you. Fuck off...

Re:No, No, No! (1)

kipman725 (1248126) | about 6 years ago | (#25040551)

can someone comment the book this is from I borrowed it from an ex and it is one of the best books I have ever asked. Can't exactly ask her what the title was.

Hmmm, maybe I missed something. (1)

motherjoe (716821) | about 6 years ago | (#25039625)

"Though other reports indicates that taikonauts abroad SZ 7 will return to Earth on September 28, the official said the ship will remain in the orbit to be docked with unmanned Shenzhou 8 and 9. Finally, the manned spaceship Shenzhou 10 will be launched and dock with the other three, completing the space station."

If they fly each ship up and, "Snap", it with another, how are the Taikonauts getting home?!?

Are they going to make those folks hoof it back? Hitch a ride with the shuttle? Some cool new parachute technology they have been holding back? :)

Take care all,
Joe

Re:Hmmm, maybe I missed something. (0, Flamebait)

AJWM (19027) | about 6 years ago | (#25039713)

China has a population problem. Who says they want them back?

(That's a, I say that's a joke, son. </foghorn_leghorn>)

Its the orbit module that will remain in space (5, Informative)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#25039659)

One feature of the Shenzhou capsule is that the orbit module (which detaches from the reentry module before reentry) can stay in function as a separate spacecraft.

Thus part of Shenzhou 7 will stay in space to form part of the station, and part of it will return the men home.

Re:Its the orbit module that will remain in space (1, Redundant)

Ambiguous Coward (205751) | about 6 years ago | (#25039751)

...and part of it will return the men home.

At which point it will pick up the fifth passenger and return to form the head.

Question: I know we pay a lot of attention to the nuclear capabilities of other countries, but has anyone stopped to examine their Blazing Sword capabilities as well? This is no time to let down our guard!

-G

Sky lab a used booster rocket (2, Informative)

philpalm (952191) | about 6 years ago | (#25039683)

Sky lab was hurried to put together and the only tragedy was that they couldn't keep it in orbit. I suppose the Chinese attempt will also end in falling from space if they can't figure out how to refuel it and keep it higher in orbit.

Re:Sky lab a used booster rocket (2, Funny)

Eighty7 (1130057) | about 6 years ago | (#25040065)

Unlike Skylab, I'm sure China consulted the Japanese Agriculture Ministry.

Re:Sky lab a used booster rocket (3, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 6 years ago | (#25040277)

Both SkyLab and this station are supposed to be disposable - besides, you simply attach a new segment each time you need to and exhaust that segments fuel supply boosting it to a good orbit.

independent Orbital/Hab module (4, Interesting)

J05H (5625) | about 6 years ago | (#25039723)

They must be talking about leaving the Hab/Orbital module on orbit for SZ7. Since ShenZhou is a modernized Soyuz, it's fairly simple. The pressurized top module has independent RCS thrusters and is designed to act as a satellite after detaching from the descent module. The previous SZ flights have included experiments and observation packages that continued long after crew return - this is a logical extension of that concept. The article refers to SZ7 as a "target vehicle" - guarantee that is referring only to the orbital module.

IIRC, the Chinese were shopping around a "long node" station design a decade ago - this is the operational version of those viewgraphs.

Unless they plan to dock the orbital modules in sequence, one of the vehicles must include a Node - my guess is SZ8 but it could be 9, these are both uncrewed so that helps with the mass of additional docking adapters.

j

Re:independent Orbital/Hab module (4, Informative)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#25040047)

Shenzhou is NOT a 'modernized Soyuz' - it has a similar appearance to Soyuz simply because of the practicalities of building a spacecraft, but don't try and imply the Chinese do not have an indigenous spaceflight capability.

Re:independent Orbital/Hab module (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25040443)

Shenzhou is NOT a 'modernized Soyuz' - it has a similar appearance to Soyuz simply because of the practicalities of building a spacecraft, but don't try and imply the Chinese do not have an indigenous spaceflight capability.

If by indigenous you mean copied bolt for bolt from somebody else's design, then yes you're right :P

Re:independent Orbital/Hab module (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25040541)

If it's anything like any of the other domestic mechanical endeavors Chinese manufacturers have been involved in, it'll come down in a fiery explosion in a couple months anyway. There's a reason even the Chinese won't buy a Chinese designed and built car or motorcycle. Dunno how they'd find ANYONE willing to get in a Chinese designed and built rocket, especially with the attitude I've heard from Chinese people about their own machinery...

Re:independent Orbital/Hab module (1)

savuporo (658486) | about 6 years ago | (#25040061)

And a logical extension to this is docking these things together with propulsion stages, refuelling the entire stack on orbit and doing lunar and planetary trips with all that. That was the original direction of Gemini program with Gemini-Agena docking and propuslion tests, and this was the most proposed approach by industry partners for the current US Constellation/CEV program as well.
Unfortunately, in both cases US went with "WDYM modular and small ? lets build a biiiig frikken rocket!" approach which was and will be unsustainable in the long term.

15 million dollar space suit ... (2, Insightful)

neonprimetime (528653) | about 6 years ago | (#25039759)

I was reading about the fighter pilot china chose ( http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/afp/080916/world/china_space [yahoo.com] ), and this is crazy ...

A 42-year-old fighter pilot has been chosen to become the first Chinese person to walk in space... Zhai Zhigang, a colonel in the People's Liberation Army...His pressurised spacesuit, which cost up to 100 million yuan (15 million dollars), is largely based on Russian designs and will include two lifelines that will supply oxygen and communications

China is spending millions on space suits and America is spending millions on bailing out big corporations. Strange how that works, huh?

Better spent on food safety? (3, Insightful)

swb (14022) | about 6 years ago | (#25039957)

China is spending millions on space suits and America is spending millions on bailing out big corporations. Strange how that works, huh?

Maybe they should spend that to keep people from putting melamine in their food.

Re:15 million dollar space suit ... (0, Troll)

roguetrick (1147853) | about 6 years ago | (#25039987)

Yeah, large countries like to waste money. I'm sure sending the guy up there will be as great an investment for China as bailing out the corps is for America.

Re:15 million dollar space suit ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25040167)

That action will not do the US any favors whatsoever. It will only give the illusion of short term stability while subverting the free market.

Re:15 million dollar space suit ... (3, Informative)

MightyYar (622222) | about 6 years ago | (#25040085)

China is spending millions on space suits and America is spending millions on bailing out big corporations. Strange how that works, huh?

Full circle... from Wikipedia:
"AIG's history dates back to 1919, when Cornelius Vander Starr established an insurance agency in Shanghai, China."

Re:15 million dollar space suit ... (4, Interesting)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#25040149)

And that's one of the biggest fears among some of us right now, that the US may wake up one morning and find that it has pissed away its advantage. I'm hoping that the opposite happens, that some real competition to the current American-Russian space alliance will convince Washington that there is something very real and tangible to be lost here.

Re:15 million dollar space suit ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25040223)

You've already pissed away your advantage. You just haven't realized it yet.

Spell checker fails again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25039769)

I think it's spelled aboard, no abroad.

Taikonauts? (3, Funny)

blair1q (305137) | about 6 years ago | (#25039785)

Look. "Astronaut" is Greek. "Cosmonaut" also Greek. "Taikonaut" is dumb.

But it's not the fault of the Chinese. They call their space travelers "Yuhangyuan".

Re:Taikonauts? (3, Funny)

need4mospd (1146215) | about 6 years ago | (#25040103)

It's all Greek to me...

Re:Taikonauts? (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 6 years ago | (#25040203)

They call their space travelers "Yuhangyuan".

Yooha... yoohangee... uh... Taikonaut it is then!

Now taking bets ... (3, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 6 years ago | (#25039815)

First country to establish a permanent lunar base?

First country to establish a permanent martian colony?

I know where my money is riding.

Re:Now taking bets ... (2, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | about 6 years ago | (#25039873)

So, let me get this straight: the Chinese do something that both Russia and the US have done something like 30-40 years ago, and they're suddenly leaders in the space race? Seriously, talk about extrapolating way too much from a single event.

The US has a relatively concrete, well-funded plan to do the lunar base. Complain as you might about Bush, gutting NASA was not one of his many sins.

Re:Now taking bets ... (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 6 years ago | (#25039945)

Watch that 'relatively concrete, well-funded plan' go out the window after the elections. People like exciting NASA plans. People don't like paying for exciting NASA plans.

Re:Now taking bets ... (3, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 6 years ago | (#25040119)

I'm mostly basing my assertion on the fact that right now China is swimming in money, productive industrial capacity, and national ambition ... while America is swimming in Fail.

Re:Now taking bets ... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | about 6 years ago | (#25040261)

It's the ambition that's the key ingredient here. The US had more fire in its gut to go to the Moon in the 1960s. The Soviets scored the early successes, but couldn't or wouldn't capitalize on it to get the big prize.

China's space program is still, by US and Russian standards, pretty damned primitive, but let's remember that this is a country that in the space of just three decades has shirked off all the madness of Mao and the Cultural Revolution to become the fastest growing economy on the planet.

And before people poo-poo this, there is a precedent. Meiji Japan in the span of a few decades went from a feudal state at risk of being dominated by the Great Powers like China was at the time to kicking the shit out of Russia and becoming a Great Power in its own right. Never ever ever discount national ambition, particularly where this coin aplenty to pay for it.

Re:Now taking bets ... (2, Informative)

c6gunner (950153) | about 6 years ago | (#25040463)

I'm mostly basing my assertion on the fact that right now China is swimming in money,

China GDP: $10.17 trillion
US GDP: $13.13 trillion
China Population: 1,321,851,888
US Population: 301,139,947

I guess if by "swimming in money" you mean "less than one quarter US GDP per capita", then yeah, they sure are!

productive industrial capacity

Man, I've seen the crash tests [youtube.com] of their new "car". You know it's bad when the technicians are laughing in the background. They might have industrial capacity to spare but that means nothing when their products are crap, so they certainly don't have productive industrial capacity to spare.

national ambition

That bit I can't argue with. They should be annexing Taiwan any day now, and then turning their ambition on the rest of asia.

Re:Now taking bets ... (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | about 6 years ago | (#25040139)

First country to establish a permanent lunar base?

First country to establish a permanent martian colony?

I know where my money is riding.

I'd cover that bet. It is a borders issue.

China has a long political tradition of keeping it's borders contiguous. They tend to expand primarily into neighboring areas.
Compared to other countries that form colonies thousands of miles away, the Chinese are very conservative. ( Look at the Spanish, English, French colonies - all over the planet. But China goes for Taiwan, Tibet, Hong Kong )

This habit is, IMHO, related to the Chinese traditions on the distribution of estates. The preferred method is to split possesions/territory equally between the sons. ( Compare to western traditions where the first son was to inherit all real estate, the second was to become a priest, etc ) This, over the centuries, has led to continually subdivided territories, as exemplified in the period of the warring states.
So now, the Chinese are wary of having geographically distinct territories. They won't be comfortable creating territory that is far away.
I'd place my money on the Japanese or Indians.

Re:Now taking bets ... (1)

AeneaTech (1308711) | about 6 years ago | (#25040375)

Yep, I think you're right, the Chinese want to stay close at home... Now excuse me while I go pickup my dinner from the local Chinese restaurant :D

Short translation. (4, Funny)

MRe_nl (306212) | about 6 years ago | (#25039875)

following the launch of manned spacecraft "God 7", "God 8" and "God 9" will be unmanned spacecraft, "God 10".

Snapping four gods together to form one orbital god?
Or is this just a bad google translation?

Re:Short translation. (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 6 years ago | (#25040485)

FYI the original Chinese version abbreviated the 2 Chinese characters with just 1. I.e. It refers Shenzhou as just Shen. Shenzhou is actually 2 separated characters with Shen by itself means God and Zhou means land/place. So it's really "God's land", in which Chinese refers the term Shenzhou to China. It's like 'beefcake' has nothing to do with beef or cake :)

Will it resemble Mir? (1)

Migraineman (632203) | about 6 years ago | (#25039885)

I wonder how "orbiting space barge of death" [slashdot.org] translates from the original Russian into Chinese.

Weren't the Shenzhou recalled??? (0, Troll)

Emperor Shaddam IV (199709) | about 6 years ago | (#25039909)

Didn't they just recall the Shenzhou space craft from WalMart? Too much lead in the paint or something like that? Also I think the navigation software was pirated from Google Earth...

I guess the lead makes it too heavy to leave the Earth's gravity well. And also, you don't want your kids chewing on the outside of a space craft. They might get lead poisoning....

Finally! (4, Insightful)

Zerth (26112) | about 6 years ago | (#25039985)

Instead of wasting all that thrust getting big liquid/airtight tanks into space only to let them fall back down, somebody will use them to expand our spaceborne volume.

Spacestations would be much cheaper if every rocket became an addon, even if they were only useable as liquid storage. Larger air capacity=less crisis when the scrubbers/recyclers fail.

Hell, grew some veggies in them, cut down on the vitamins we have to ship up.

And it cost them how much? (1)

VShael (62735) | about 6 years ago | (#25040003)

I'd be interested to know how much this launch/assemble space station is going to cost the Chinese, and then comparing how much the ISS cost.

I know they build things cheaper in China, but I thought that was just t-shirts and sneakers and stuff.

They want to play in their own sand box (1)

The Assistant (1162547) | about 6 years ago | (#25040021)

For whatever reasons (possibly military?) the Chinese want their own space station.
  • Maybe they think they can do a better job on their own without having to comply with standard docking rings, and keyboards that don't support their written language.
  • Maybe they want to use it as a satellite smasher launch point.
  • Maybe they want to build one big enough to send a bunch of people to so their's more room for those left on the ground.
  • Maybe they want another stream of income.

Choose one from above, or come up with your own guess.

Re:They want to play in their own sand box (4, Interesting)

damburger (981828) | about 6 years ago | (#25040095)

They want their own space station in order to technologically advance their country, and because we told them to piss off when they offered to contribute to the ISS (Which kind of throws the 'international' bit out the window). None of the reasons you suggest have anything to do with it.

So yeah... (1)

The Dancing Panda (1321121) | about 6 years ago | (#25040023)

So, they never mentioned how they plan on getting the people they send up there back down. I guess when you've got 1.5 billion people it doesn't matter?

They were inspired... (1)

Schnoogs (1087081) | about 6 years ago | (#25040041)

...by the Japanese who snapped 5 pieces of construction equipment together to form Devastator!!!

Mir then (2, Informative)

roman_mir (125474) | about 6 years ago | (#25040107)

So they are after their own Mir station, so what? USSR has done that on multiple occasions (put together space capsules into some sort of a space station configuration.) It's just good engineering, but in this case it is not surprising at all, considering that Chinese space industry is sort of regurgitation Russian space industry.

Good for them. (1)

Animats (122034) | about 6 years ago | (#25040189)

Good for them.

China may well do this right, the 1950s Collier's space program way. Just mass produce and launch medium-sized rockets until there's a real space station in orbit. The problem with NASA has always been that they don't do anything in volume, so their costs are too high.

Proper translation (5, Informative)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | about 6 years ago | (#25040197)

I know this is Slashdot, but here T properly translated FA. Contents inside [] are mine.

Bad article (it's tautology -- blame the writer) and bad translation (blame me).

Space Lab Planned after Shenzhou-X Launch

Mr. Cui Ji-Jun, director of Jiuquan Space Launch Center, today told the media that the Shenzhou-VIII and -IX spaceships, which are scheduled after this year's manned Shenzhou-VII unit, will both be unmanned. The tenth of the series will again send astronauts into space and snap with an orbiting target. After that, work will be done to construct a space-based laboratory.

According to the Qilu Evening [a Shandon-based newspaper], Mr. Cui said the featured task of Shenzhou-VII will be a spacewalk. Three astronauts will be aboard: one will take the walk out of the ship, another one will assist him in the orbiting unit (of Shenzhou-VII), and the third in the return unit. Cui also explained the reason behind the decision of launching the spaceship at night. [However the news fails to tell what it is:(]

Shenzhou-VIII and -IX, Unmanned

Cui said after Shenzhou-VII gets launched, a Target unit will be sent to space, and later the VIII to X units. Shenzhou-VIII, unmanned, will go after the Target unit and join with it. The IX unit will do the same. Shenzhou-X, piloted by astronauts, will also join with the Target. After this is done, the first task will be the making of a space lab.

A little soon? (1)

DrBuzzo (913503) | about 6 years ago | (#25040269)

Nothing against the Chinese space program, but they've only made one manned flight and that one was just a few orbits. I think they might want to get a few more flights under their belt and make sure they've got the whole docking thing worked out and then maybe do some space walks and stuff like that.

They haven't even done another manned space flight since their first one and it seems like this might be more hot air than anything else.

Aaargh the summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25040365)

Could someone not at least proof read the summary for typos and terrible grammar?

Good luck with that (1)

MrNougat (927651) | about 6 years ago | (#25040389)

I find it interesting that they are all set to go for docking four ships together into a space station, and they haven't even done a spacewalk yet.

so basically.. (1)

BigGerman (541312) | about 6 years ago | (#25040459)

.. they will repeat the mission profile the Russians flew back in 1968 or so?

NCC1701...made in China (0, Flamebait)

MrSmith0011000100110 (1344879) | about 6 years ago | (#25040497)

Sorry, but with all the shoddy merchandise coming out of China, I can't believe for one second that this is going to end well. Needless to say that the Chinese Govt cares little for the safety of its citizens, but still someone stop them before the space junk floating around this planet includes little Chinese people. On the up side, if they pull it off at least we can get good take-out in space.

Long term planning (4, Insightful)

zmooc (33175) | about 6 years ago | (#25040501)

It's simply the most logical thing to do. Launching stuff into space is so incredibly expensive that scrapping the stuff or even bringing it back to earth makes absolutely no sense financially. I've never understood why there has not been some prior planning to do this with just about any spacecraft. We'd have had a space city by now and if something broke, it could be ditched after all. Even stuff that's completely useless at the moment could still come in handy later on.

In space useless crap is worth billions, you just have to keep it around long enough to find a use for it. There's more than enough space up there to do that;-)

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