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China's New Military Space Stations Coming Soon

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the aloha-up-there dept.

Space 345

WindBourne writes "China will be launching 2 new space stations this next year. One is for their civil program (as run by the military), while the second is openly for the military. It appears that there will be multiples of the military version to be launched in 2010, and that they are developing the same US Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) that was canceled in 1969. In addition, it appears that China is accelerating their timelines on a number of the earlier space announcements."

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345 comments

You know whats ironic? (1, Interesting)

Aklarr (1463653) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135081)

Whats ironic is that China seems to have much more ambition, or is that much less red tape, then NASA does in the USA to get space projects happening

Re:You know whats ironic? (0, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135173)

I knew a motive for crashing those US and Russian satellites together and filling the skies with junk would emerge quickly. This is probably it.

It will be a nice change to have the Chinese strong enough to rein in the Allies of Evil...

Re:You know whats ironic? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135569)

Actually it will be interesting to see which side Russia take in the US-China war that is coming. I hope all you guys listened in Counter Strike class.....

Re:You know whats ironic? (1, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135747)

It will be a nice change to have the Chinese strong enough to rein in the Allies of Evil...

Yeah, because we all know what a peaceful nation China is.

Re:You know whats ironic? (2, Informative)

grodzix (1235802) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136117)

Well, if you compare China to US then it seems to be quite a peaceful nation (if you talk about international issues).

Re:You know whats ironic? (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136891)

Well, if you compare China to US then it seems to be quite a peaceful nation (if you talk about international issues).

Tell that to the Tibetans. Of course, China, like an imperialist state, used some old, and even at the time, dubious claim to seize a sovereign state. So, if you redefine annexations of other territories purely an internal issue, maybe you have a point.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

CensorshipDonkey (1108755) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136557)

I hear China didn't destroy a satellite in space recently, creating a very large junk field, on purpose.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

u4ya (1248548) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135179)

China seems to have much more ambition, or is that much less red tape, then NASA does in the USA to get space projects happening

or more money

Re:You know whats ironic? (3, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135261)

Or more expendable astronauts.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135607)

manned space missions since 2000.

china has lost 0 on 2 attempts.
russia has lost 0 on 28 attempts.
usa has lost 1 on 28 attempts.

I think we need to pick up our game before talking trash about the new guy.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

feedayeen (1322473) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135189)

Well, yeah, China hasn't been hit as hard as the US during GDII, they want to take the place that the US occupied after GDI.

Re:You know whats ironic? (5, Interesting)

nothing2seehere (1496253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135301)

Actually, China has been hit worse that most countries, especially the US, and it's just going to keep getting worse. The Chinese government announced that over 7% of all domestic companies went out of business over the last year, and that China is now experiencing deflation. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, deflation is very, very bad, espeicially for a manufacturing-based economy.

Re:You know whats ironic? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135797)

deflation is bad for speculants and you are yet another sheep brainwashed by the US mass media

Re:You know whats ironic? (5, Informative)

nothing2seehere (1496253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136045)

Let's say you're a Chinese manufacturer. You buy 100 yuan of raw materials, and you plan to turn them into 100 widgets and sell them in a month for 110 yuan. In the meanwhile, deflation is gripping your country, so while you're running your assembly line, the market price for widgets drops from 1.1 yuan to 0.98 yuan. So now, you have to take a loss on your manufacturing operation. Why would a company even bother in that kind of environment? Answer: they wouldn't - they shut down instead.

This is a pretty fundamental observation of economics, but if you can refute it with something besides "you're a brainwashed sheep," I'd be interested to hear your argument.

Re:You know whats ironic? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136325)

if you can refute it with something besides "you're a brainwashed sheep," I'd be interested to hear your argument.

Your a brainwashed duck!

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136351)

This is a pretty fundamental observation of economics, but if you can refute it with something besides "you're a brainwashed sheep," I'd be interested to hear your argument.

You're a brainwashed llama. Oh, SNAP!

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136483)

Why would a company even bother in that kind of environment? Answer: they wouldn't - they shut down instead.

Actually, they probably continue to operate at a loss with the belief (supported by evidence or not) that the deflationary period will only last for the next quarter... or the next six months... the next year at the most...

Then they run out of cash and ask for a government bailout.

(Actually, the Chinese government has just told shipping companies that they aren't allowed to charge "zero rates"; that is, rates that only cover expenses and "compromise profitability", so at least one sector is being given the choice of staying in the black or shutting down.)

Re:You know whats ironic? (4, Insightful)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136683)

Because they planned to turn the 100 widgets into 150 yuan so after the .03 point deflation, they are still making .47 yuan per unit, and to replace the raw materials will now only cost 0.97 yuan because of the deflation.

The reason the previous poster called you a 'brainwashed sheep' is because you clearly believe that deflation and taking a loss on every every unit sold are synonymous. This is simply false. The 'same fundamental observations of economics' always seem to not notice the benefits of deflation like lower raw material costs for equal quality materials as well lower wages for an equal quality of life for their employees. In fact, if the factory continues to pay their employees the same amount, it will have the real effect of having given their employees a raise.

Every time that deflation comes up, someone does what you did. They make up a very specifically crafted scenario that would be bad in a deflation economy, and then call it a 'fundamental observation of economics. They completely ignore the fact that inflation is exactly what has cause our current financial problems. An inflation economy encourage people not to save a safety net because in an inflation economy, every dollar you save is money lost.

Since there is not stable economy (as in no inflation or deflation) every economy is either in a state of inflation or deflation, and dealing with the problems caused by the change. Inflation economies hurt the individual while deflation economies hurt the business. If a billion dollars is lost, it sounds worse if it is from a business (a single entity) than if it is from 100 million individuals. It isn't worse. It just sounds that way because it makes a better sound bite.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

Larry_The_Canary (1084565) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136869)

mod parent up, it needs to be seen.

Re:You know whats ironic? (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135837)

The Chinese government announced that over 7% of all domestic companies went out of business over the last year

Of course, those are just the failed companies due to a crackdown by Blizzard. LOL

Re:You know whats ironic? (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135491)

That's about the dumbest thing I've ever heard. When our currency tanked it was an economic nut-punch to China. When our economy tanked it was like a fricking sledgehammer.

China is in a seriously bad situation right now. Their crazy growth has been a calculated attempt to try and build up their economy before their demographics catch up to them: their "all families get 1 kid" bump makes the baby boomers look like a population contraction. They must build up a cushion before those people get too old to work.

This happening right now is about the worst thing imaginable for them. Manufacturing economies are critically reliant on other countries buying their goods, and China cannot afford an economic contraction at this point in their development.

Re:You know whats ironic? (3, Insightful)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135991)

They must build up a cushion before those people get too old to work.
...
China cannot afford an economic contraction at this point in their development.

Which is a perfect reason NOT to buy products made in China. Yeah, yeah, all those electronic gizmos people buy are made in China (most anyway), but you don't have to buy that spatula, plates, dog toy, sneakers or anything else made in their country.

I've done it and while at times it can get frustrating, it can be done with minimal to no effect on ones lifestyle. The only things so far I can't find that aren't made in China are gloves and sunglasses. Yes, I can go out and buy sunglasses made in Italy for $100, but I'm not that desperate.

Between their overall human rights abuses combined with their continued occupation and suppression of Tibet, now is the best time to wean yourself from the Chinese teat.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136093)

The expensive sunglasses are worth it. You get better vision, an aura of smug, and longevity.

I have trouble with shoes, especially workboots. Where can I get a pair of those?

Re:You know whats ironic? (4, Insightful)

geckipede (1261408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136401)

So in order to show your disapproval of the Chinese government's abuse of their people, you want to oppose and actively resist their attempt to do something to raise quality of life for those same people?

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136491)

People tend to make their own economic decisions based on the quality of the item, and the cost of the item.

Very few people base their decisions off the "place of origin" of the item. That's why "Buy USA/Don't Buy China" campaigns tend not to work, aside cases where there is a clear benefit to the more expensive item (e.g. unleaded toys).

Re:You know whats ironic? (2, Interesting)

captainpanic (1173915) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135205)

Why is that ironic? Big projects are a direct result from a centralized bureaucracy with a billion people that can do the work. Their space project is nothing compared to other infrastructure projects they have.

Specialist tasks are, pretty much by default, more expensive in our current capitalist system with companies having more power than the governments. The chinese work cheaper and are faster at taking decisions. And their government does have the power to tell a company that "they will do this-and-this task for this budget, with NO option to spend more money" (whereas NASA and ESA always seem to exceed the budget).

Face it, the Chinese will rule space if Western countries don't step it up.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135333)

Face it, the Chinese will rule space if Western countries don't step it up.

What we need here is a good 'ol "gap" of something sexy and important sounding to get the US politicians to be riled up enough to spend the money to compete. "Space Race" or "Missile Gap" seems just too plain, and they've been used before.

Anybody with enough caffeine or other drugs in their nervous systems to do this idea justice?

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135617)

How about World War III: Cold War part II?

Re:You know whats ironic? (1, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135731)

The biggest problem is that China has a virtually unlimited pool of cheap labor, and we don't. China doesn't have to spend the money on robotics or worker benefits or anything like that to get work done. If something big needs to be done, they keep throwing people at it until it's done.

I suppose we could adopt a new plan sort of like China's "1 child per family" policy, except more like "at least 10 children per family". Of course, 90% of the population would have to get used to living like a Chinese peasant, which could be a difficult adjustment for people who have become accustomed to luxuries like electricity and running water. We'd probably also need to annex Canada to make room for all the extra people.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135775)

The biggest problem is that China has a virtually unlimited pool of cheap labor, and we don't. China doesn't have to spend the money on robotics or worker benefits or anything like that to get work done. If something big needs to be done, they keep throwing people at it until it's done.

As I recall that strategy didn't work out so well for the Soviet Union.....

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

pmarini (989354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136213)

but it did get plenty of pyramids to be the tallest buildings for millennia...

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

imhennessy (1425987) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136295)

Or IBM.

But, not having read _The Mythical Man-Month_,
I'm not sure I got that reference right.

ivan

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136337)

It works fine for a while. The problem is, once you start building a middle class, you can't sustain the flow of cheap labor to the factories, and then the whole thing turns to shit, and you have to hope you can transition your economy away from cheap labor, and into more skilled work.

The Soviet problem was more one of pure communism. The economy went stagnant, the black market thrived, and factory productivity was terrible.

China won't have those problems so much, but they will have the same issues every other developing country has, the same ones we had in the early 1900's.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

mog007 (677810) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135969)

We have plenty of space in the United States. The two highest populates countries on earth are China and India. I'm not sure where India ranks as far as total area goes, but it's definitely smaller than the United States, and they've got waaaay more people.

China's fourth for area and first for population, and the United States is third for both categories. If China can handle a billion, then the United States could certainly do it too.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

Silicon Jedi (878120) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136385)

Bah, if we run out of room we'll just take Canada.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136109)

We could have an unlimited pool of labor, just allow unlimited immigration. We could produce dirt cheap manufactured goods, just repeal the minimum wage laws and some of the federal worker protections. Most people don't think that's a good idea.

The idea of breeding your own population boom is silly. Historically we've always siphoned off other peoples.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136291)

The US government has and still does invest in big projects. The growing distinction is that the US government is growing increasingly burdened with having spent money in many other areas, one of the biggest being social programs. Additionally, the US has to deal with issues of all sorts, one of the biggest being environmental concerns. Look at all the environmental impact studies American companies have to engage in before they can even start working. And this is just one of many obstacles.

The advantage that the US has is that not only is government funding going towards these projects, but companies are investing themselves. The burden is shared. Of course, China does enjoy some of this as well.

And this just goes to show that all the utopian idealism in the world isn't going to take you very far. The US government can talk all they want about not militarizing space but the fact is that someone else is going to do it anyway.

China certainly is very ambitious, but the US is still light years ahead in terms of experience and expertise. Although, I'm sure outsourcing is helping to shrink that advantage.

less red tape? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135281)

isn't all their tape red?

Re:You know whats ironic? (5, Funny)

saintm (142527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135313)

That isn't an example of irony at all, unless you are following the "Alanis Morissette" theory whereby anything can be called ironic without consideration of it's actual relevence to irony.

Re:You know whats ironic? (0, Troll)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135509)

are you being ironic?

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

JoeDuncan (874519) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135833)

Actually the Alanis Morissette song is an example of meta-irony.

What's ironic about it is that it's a song about irony that doesn't contain any irony.

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136087)

That isn't an example of irony at all, unless you are following the "Alanis Morissette" theory whereby anything can be called ironic without consideration of it's actual relevence to irony.

Part of the problem is if there's a word to describe what frequently gets called 'irony', most people (including myself) don't know it. You end up with a well-known concept which has no label for it. The closest fit people have adopted is irony.

It would seem that situational irony [wikipedia.org] is what most people are currently using when they say irony.

Got an alternate word, or are you just going to keep saying "oh noes, that's not really irony"?

Cheers

Re:You know whats ironic? (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136735)

The original poster claimed it's ironic that China has more will to get space projects up and running than the USA. You might view this as "a shame" (most examples in the Alanis Morissette song fall into this category, as does the song itself for that matter) but it certainly isn't "ironic".

An example of irony would be if China launched so many military satellites that two of them crashed into each other, and the resulting debris fell to Earth and wiped out a Chinese military base.

Therefore, I would suggest that the alternate term you are looking for is "a shame". If you can give me an example of a situation where this term is inadequate, but "ironic" does not apply either, I'll be glad to reconsider.

China is the real enemy (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135147)

Just in case anyone doesnt know this, china is the worlds largest military threat and has current and active plans for the hostile expansion of it's territories worldwide. But they aren't doing it exactly with foot troops invading - not yet. China is doing it economically. But also there is the strong military component that is undenyable, they are building up to be able to overpower the us, ussr and anyone else, and left unchecked china is going to be the new united states, minus some of the things that we (supposedly) have that makes us better than them.

Re:China is the real enemy (2, Insightful)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135201)

China's military is tightly interwoven into the country's economy. Apparently you won't find a company that doesn't have a general behind it somewhere. So military or civilian, it's all the same in the end.

Re:China is the real enemy (1)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136267)

You could probably swap China for America or Russia in your comment, and it nearly as accurate. And I'm former NASA, so I'm not one to want to mix military and civilian space.

Re:China is the real enemy (4, Insightful)

Rynor (1277690) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135337)

I for one welcome our new Chinese overlords.

And we did this (5, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135395)

Our trade-deficit has largely funded them (and killed our industrial base as a side-effect). If they turn into a large menace, we largely have ourselves to thank/blame. Blowback Theory is live and well. The belief that doing business with a country creates a democracy has proven to be horsewash. It seems the US creates most of its own monsters.
     

Re:And we did this (1, Funny)

internerdj (1319281) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135503)

Don't worry too much. If the US isn't on top, someone else would be making at least some of the US's monsters.

Re:And we did this (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136275)

Cheap labor always kills the industrial base of countries with expensive labor. If it wasn't China, it would have been India.

If they turn into a large menace they will have themselves to blame. Same if they turn into a large peaceful country.

You've decided that a country which is just now getting a middle class is never going to be a democracy? Most of China is still living large on the peasant lifestyle; those people have to be educated before there will be any significant attempt on their part to take power.

Rest assured, once they get some money, they will demand their share of political power. The only way to prevent that is to keep the bulk of the population ignorant and isolated, and that only works for so long.

but why did we do this? (1)

hackingbear (988354) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136739)

Remember, the US did not make the deals with China last year, in 2000, in 1990, but has made the deal to trade with them since 1970's. Because the US wanted them to help defeat the Soviet Union. You get what you want, should you pay as promise.

Like all other countries, we deal with others not because we are nice nor naive, but because we have something to ask for.

Finally, for most people who care about their every day life much more than ideology, the value of democracy is questionable. Buddy, look around the world. Are many (most?) ''democracies'' -- India, Mexico, Brazil, Thailand, Pakistan, The Philippines -- better than China in dealing with any matters that count: equality, education, health care/education, standard of living, environment, crime, corruption? The answers are no. Many are worse in many areas. Maybe the USA is an exception. Or is USA really better too?

Democracy is an ideal, just like communism. For the last 30 years, people in China have mostly decided to pursue better living as the ultimate goal, and not ideology.

Re:China is the real enemy (1)

qoncept (599709) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135449)

That's some pretty bold speculation on China's intentions. Got a source?

I'm standing firm in my belief that the best thing George Bush did during his 8 years (and maybe the only good thing) (and intentionally or otherwise) was watching the Olympics in China rather than holding out. Their military is huge and their economic grip on the US is tight, so remaining on good terms with them is really the best option to get them to do what you want.

Re:China is the real enemy (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135571)

I realize the consequences would be bad.. but I just can't imagine what might happen if the US decided to default on all money owed to China.

WTO step in? China nationalizing anything with a hint of US owned assets? Global Anarchy?

Re:China is the real enemy (1)

jm2morri (179457) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136119)

My theory is that the US will sell Alaska to China. That is the only way I see the US getting out of this debt mess. It's not that far from China, it gets them a foothold on the continent, and will all the oil and reserves there is has to be worth a lot to China.

The US gets rid of all its debt and Sarah Palin--it's a win-win!.

Re:China is the real enemy (1)

Asic Eng (193332) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136643)

In most types of negotiation, announcing that you'll take anything the other side offers is usually a bad strategy. It would remove their incentive to find common ground with you. Sure it would be silly to make demands which they can't possibly fulfill either - that would just terminate the negotiations.

I don't think the negotiating position of the US is all that bad - the US is a lot more powerful militarily, and while the Chinese economy has been growing fast - it's still only about a third of the US'. If the US maintains good relations and coordinates with their allies - like the Europeans and e.g. Japan, South-Korea, Taiwan in Asia - China is completely outclassed, and will be at least for many decades. Most of the powerful and productive nations in the world are democracies and - despite the rivalries - we share a lot of our values. That should be a good basis to deal with a developing nation like China with an outdated system of government.

So really - caving-in to the Chinese is counter-productive, the US can and should negotiate from a position of strength. Bush should have gotten something in return for visiting during the Olympics. Maybe he did - not all diplomatic activities are out in the open, but it was certainly worth something for the Chinese. If we don't make any demands we are are not going to get anything.

Re:China is the real enemy (4, Insightful)

huckamania (533052) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135519)

"minus some of the things that we (supposedly) have that makes us better than them"

The big difference between the west and other areas is that the west has a large middle class. Having a large middle class encourages upward mobility both from poor to middle class and middle class to rich.

China is a contender for sure, but so are India, Brazil, Russia, etc.

"china is the worlds largest military threat"

I'm not sure the world agrees. The Chinese are actually good people. Their leaders have made some bad decisions but whose hasn't.

Re:China is the real enemy (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135815)

Some are, some are Fenqings [wikipedia.org] . Fenqing is Chinese for angry youth - they are fiercely nationalistic, very keen on invading Taiwan a year back for example. Right now, given the recent naval clash, they will be keen on on standing up to the US. Imagine a cross between freepers and the Freikorps [wikipedia.org] and you've got it.

If these people ended up in control of Chinese foreign policy, China in the 2000's could plausibly go on the rampage a bit like Japan in the 1930s.

Re:China is the real enemy (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136571)

China in the 2000's could plausibly go on the rampage a bit like Japan in the 1930s.

They are running out of time to meet that deadline...

REDS in SPACE? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135175)

God save our souls. Those things are coming down, sooner rather than later.

Military in the administrative sense? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135275)

To what degree is this a novel phenomenon? TFA didn't mention any weapons systems, or anything besides probable surveillance gear and being under the administrative control of the military. That seems pretty much identical to everybody else's use of military satellites. It is interesting that they'd see some value in building two manned stations; but the purpose seems to be pretty similar to what satellites have been used for for decades now.

Re:Military in the administrative sense? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135771)

Right, because the Chinese are going to are going to tell everyone about weapons systems. If it's not in the article it must not exist.

Re:Military in the administrative sense? (1)

Kagura (843695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135987)

The Russians operated several military space stations. One of them even test fired a large-caliber cannon [wikipedia.org] in space at another satellite.

Re:Military in the administrative sense? (1)

tsstahl (812393) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136123)

One of them even test fired a large-caliber cannon [wikipedia.org] in space at another satellite.

Sound and fury signifying nothing... That is one helluva an ammo run.

Re:Military in the administrative sense? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136597)

It is interesting that they'd see some value in building two manned stations.

R&D

Remember Tiananmen Square (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135317)

Before all you science types go singing the praises of China, remember the people that died fighting for democracy in Tiananmen Square!

China is calling it the Mobile Space Garrison (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135345)

Or MSG.

Defcon 4! (1)

potscott (539666) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135439)

This reminds me of a cheap 80's movie called Defcon 4. Manned military platform loaded with nukes. Next thing you know, a comet will pass and turn everyone to dust...

Good. (5, Insightful)

solios (53048) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135577)

NOTHING will kick NASA (and Roscosmos) in the ass like some actual competition.

We beat the Soviets to the moon... now, can we get back there before the Chinese?

Re:Good. (2, Funny)

agnosticanarch (105861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135763)

I was just thinkin' this! It's about gorram time, too. If we're not careful we'll have to cooperate with'em to build the Core Planets, and then all of our children's children will be cursing in Chinese!

Re:Good. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136013)

Firefly FTW! I would be very curious to see the reliability of the said Chinese projects. Past experiences with their major projects don't quite convince me that they'll be the ones building the core planets. (see their internal crisis responses for the recent earthquake and the quality of the construction that magnified the destruction).

Re:Good. (1)

saider (177166) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136529)

Speaking of cursing in Chinese...

"It's about gorram time, too"

America is falling behind again (4, Insightful)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135599)

and this time they are not going to have a bunch of expat Germans with paper-clips on their files to bail them out. I think what is more worrying is that Iran & North Korea may well have manned space flight programs up and running before the USA does. What needs to happen is more Funding for NASA and they need someone with a lot of Political Savy running it (Like James Web in the 60's)

Re:America is falling behind again (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136023)

Why?

Just to say were better? Yes, I know that there have been several "trickle down" advancements from NASA. But, I'm not a fan of Trickle Down Economics, so I'm not sure how much I support Trickle Down Science. So, what is the direct advancement? Why put money into space for off shoot Advancement when we could put money directly into scientific research for different problems we currently have?

Re:America is falling behind again (1)

rumith (983060) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136343)

Don't worry, this time America has tens of thousands of former Soviet/Russian scientists who fled the country in the 90s when the USSR died, and it became obvious that this brave new Russia has little need of science (or anything else besides the oil pipe, for that matter). And yes, I know what I'm talking about.

Soviet space battlestations (5, Informative)

Chairboy (88841) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135637)

Of possible interest, the Soviet Union had a number of military space stations. The Almaz project culminated in a Salyut analogue that actually had a 20mm cannon that was test fired in orbit.

In the 1980s, they built the Polyus Space Battlestation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyus_(spacecraft)) which was to be equipped with nuclear mines, a boron field generator, frickin' laser beams, cannons, etc. As part of a last gasp effort to regain relevancy by showing command of the sky, a test battlestation was launched on one of the two Energia boosters that flew. A funny thing happened on the way to orbit, though...

Because of CG issues, the battlestation (about as big as a US space shuttle) was mounted upside down on the booster. Once it separated from the Energia, it was designed to fire a thruster that would turn it 180 degrees, stop rotation, then the final stage would boost this Cyrillic emblazoned death star into orbit.

The Energia booster completed it's cycle, the explosive bolts detonated, and the Polyus slowly pulled away. A thruster at the bottom fired, and the ponderous bulk began to rotate. With steady precision, it rotated 90 degrees, 135 degrees, then finally 180 degrees.... ....and kept rotating. As it completed a _complete_ rotation, the rocket fired again and smartly placed it back in the exact same angle it had been when it started.

The rocket fired as scheduled, but unfortunately for this military menace, the effect was the opposite intended. With typical maniacal mechanical thoroughness, the rocket ran, slowing the station and neatly dropping it into the Indian ocean.

I've heard rumors (for what that's worth) that one of the US Nuclear subs equipped for deep sea salvage just happened to be in the area at the time. If true, that's the goddamndest thing...

Nonetheless, it's interesting to speculate about what might have happened in the end-stages of the Cold War if the Soviets had gained control of the high ground in this fashion.

An aside, a great site for learning more about the military efforts in space during the 60s and 70s is Cold Orbits: http://www.deepcold.com/ [deepcold.com]

Re:Soviet space battlestations (4, Funny)

nothing2seehere (1496253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135829)

Nonetheless, it's interesting to speculate about what might have happened in the end-stages of the Cold War if the Soviets had gained control of the high ground in this fashion.

If quality control was so low that they couldn't even rotate it correctly, it probably wasn't anything to worry about. Besides, it had a well-known small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port...

Re:Soviet space battlestations (1)

david.given (6740) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136469)

As part of a last gasp effort to regain relevancy by showing command of the sky, a test battlestation was launched on one of the two Energia boosters that flew.

It's worth emphasising the word 'test' here!

The Polyus was based on a TKS logistics vehicle (combination man-rated cargo transport, tug and on-orbit living quarters module that was intended for Mir-2) that was surplus from a test stand (!), mated to a mockup of the Skif-D battlestation that had been under design for years but had no actual functioning hardware. The mockup contained a lot of hardware stolen from other programmes, including Buran, in order to meet the crash deadline; the guidance system that failed and caused the deorbit was a guidance sensor that had been ripped out of an existing Cosmos spacecraft. It sounds like a horrible mess and was obviously intended as a prestige project rather than as anything useful.

In terms of weapon systems, it did contain a cannon designed to defend against anti-satellite weapons. It's unclear whether it was actually loaded. Other military hardware included a targeting laser, a barium cloud release system that was an experiment in deflecting beam weapons, and some target release systems.

So from a dakka perspective it's much less exciting than you make out!

From a space hardware perspective, though, it's deeply cool; not for what it did, but because it massed 80 tonnes and was 37 metres long, and went up (and then down again) in a single launch. Energia was quite a beast. It was a shame it only flew twice.

There are some decent technical specs and photos here [buran-energia.com] (with practically no mention of the military aspects), and some information about the programme as a whole here [astronautix.com] .

Space Race and Boom economy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135655)

Space race will accelerate space commercialization and hence will speed up the recovery of the economy.
Instead of building cars GM can build space vehicles.

Good thing Obama is against defending space. (0, Troll)

glrotate (300695) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135745)

We wouldn't want to interfere with the Chinese.

Red Scare Bollocks (3, Insightful)

krou (1027572) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135805)

I don't ever see stories on /. talking about NASA that make a point of mentioning their obvious military ties when they undertake civilian space programs.

So far, the single dissenter against efforts to prevent militarisation of space at the UN has been the US, not China.

What this "acceleration of timelines" indicates is that the Chinese are taking the US stance very seriously.

Nuclear rover? Will nukes power their stations? (2, Insightful)

wisebabo (638845) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135835)

I'm actually much more intrigued by the statement at the end of the article in Space.com about the nuclear powered rover they intend to land on the moon.

Interesting (if true) that they didn't just put on solar panels (will the rover be used during the lunar night?).

If they are willing to use nuclear power (probably just RTGs) for such a relatively modest application (except for an experiment or two the Apollo astronauts left on the moon I don't think any nuclear power was ever used there) will they be using nukes for more applications in their space program?

Nuclear power (first as RTGs, then as full fledged reactors) will REALLY give their spacecraft an order of magnitude more capability than solar powered ones. The Russian radar satellites used to locate American carrier groups used nukes (and one crashed in Canada!). If the Chinese are willing to take the risk (our collective risk?) for using nukes in space what kind of benefits will they obtain?

Certainly, for some military applications a small, compact nuclear power plant might be a better power source than large vulnerable solar cells. (though the reactor would likely need radiator fins).

Re:Nuclear rover? Will nukes power their stations? (4, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135947)

Interesting (if true) that they didn't just put on solar panels (will the rover be used during the lunar night?).

Very slightly off topic, you'd be amazed how many people confuse "same face always facing the earth" with "same face always facing the sun". Then for a good time explain Mercury's spin-orbit resonance and they get all confused.

During the night, a good way to keep warm is a nice toasty nuclear reactor or RTG.

Re:Nuclear rover? Will nukes power their stations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27135981)

The sun only rises once a month on the moon. A solar powered lander would be unable to maintain its minimum standby temperature during the long night.

Re:Nuclear rover? Will nukes power their stations? (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136131)

China and Russia have a long history of doing stupid shit that causes problems for other people. I think it comes with having bad, undemocratic governments, and they think they can steamroll over the interests of everyone on Earth, and not just their own people.

To wit the Russian RORSAT crash in Canada that spread radioactive debris over the Canadian Arctic, and China's incredibly irresponsible ASAT test, which left behind loads of long lived orbital debris.

Re:Nuclear rover? Will nukes power their stations? (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136191)

Would the empty vacuum of space really be a good way to dissipate heat? I thought everything in space was cold on the dark side and hot on the sun side. Without a medium to transfer heat into it wouldn't be a good thermal conductor... or am I totally incorrect in this?

Re:Nuclear rover? Will nukes power their stations? (1)

Alinabi (464689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136665)

or am I totally incorrect in this?

Yes, you are. Heat can dissipate through radiative transfer.

China Copying US, Including Mistakes Made and Not (4, Insightful)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27135893)

Let China put up a dozen "military" stations. The Manned Orbiting Laboratory (http://www.astronautix.com/craft/mol.htm ) was canceled for good reasons. Primarily that all the functions could be automated and/or ground controlled, without the extra mass, complexity and vulnerability of a manned station. It will provide them with many individual opportunities to practice maintaining manned stations, docking, crew and supply transfers, etc. We already have the experience and know which works best. But let them make their own mistakes. They many even pull off their entire program through lunar landing in their own fashion, but their particular path isn't the most efficient or effective. Perhaps the hard way will be the best way to learn. OTOH, they may develop technology and techniques we didn't because we didn't need to.

Re:China Copying US, Including Mistakes Made and N (2, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136051)

The Manned Orbiting Laboratory (http://www.astronautix.com/craft/mol.htm ) was canceled for good reasons. Primarily that all the functions could be automated and/or ground controlled, without the extra mass, complexity and vulnerability of a manned station.

And what happens when a) you get hacked or b) someone from the manned station next door comes over for a visit and unplugs a few things.

Re:China Copying US, Including Mistakes Made and N (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136399)

Yes, they'll learn (or find new ways). While we are doing what, exactly ?

Free Tibet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136029)

Impeach Bush/Cheney!

No War for Oil!

Social Justice!

Hands off. . . uh, hey - that's MY bong load, dude!

Fools boldly rush forth, where angels fear to trea (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136075)

And hey, if they want to waste the money, let 'em. Given China's unwillingness to behave responsibly internationally (e.g. with Sudan and Darfur), and their unproductive attitude towards international cooperation, I frankly hope that blowing through all that cash will cramp their style. Because it means less hassle for everyone outside China in the long run.

Re:Fools boldly rush forth, where angels fear to t (1)

nothing2seehere (1496253) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136293)

Surely you're not suggesting that manned spaceflight is a... a... waste of money?

Re:Fools boldly rush forth, where angels fear to t (1)

benjfowler (239527) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136731)

Military manned spaceflight has been seen for decades as a colossal waste of money. Up until now, only the Soviets were dumb enough to try (and fail spectacularly).

I'd rate human spaceflight for civilian purposes ("research", "national leadership" -- basically for the hell of it), as only something worthwhile only when the value added by having humans around far exceeds the money saved by using robots -- which isn't often.

The military is usually interested in results. That's why the US rejected manned military space decades ago.

Here's the way the US will end, with a whimper... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136099)

1989: President (George H.) Bush announces that we're going to Mars by 2020.

2004: President (George W.) Bush announces that we're going to the Moon by 2020. Then to Mars.

2012: Chinese colonists working on the Moon decisively prove that the Apollo moon landings were a hoax by revealing the landing sites to be barren and untouched. Employees of the recently-disbanded NASA have no comments. Chinese claim to the Moon is undisputed. Conspiracy theorists claim the Chinese have simply removed the evidence of the Apollo landings, but these claims are ignored out of fear of rapidly growing Chinese military power.

2014: President (Jeb) Bush announces that the Chinese have agreed to allow us to send one American research crew to their new lunar launch facility, but only if we abandon all remaining manufacturing efforts and surrender the states of Alaska and Hawaii.

2015: To protect the peace of the North American region and avoid the threat of orbital bombardment by Chinese satellite weapons, the United States surrenders all remaining overseas assets to China. The two countries sign a twenty year nonaggression pact. President Bush makes a speech on the matter, noting that "through diplomacy and mutual respect, there shall be peace in our time."

2018: President (Barbara) Bush sadly informs the surviving citizens of the country that the Moon has come to us - the Chinese are dropping asteroid-sized chunks of lunar debris on key population centers. Thirty precent of the population dies in the first twelve hours. The Chinese offer to stand down their bombardment in exchange for the unconditional surrender of the United States of America.

2025: The last surviving citizen of the United States dies in a forced labor camp on the Moon. The event is celebrated by the People's Republic of Earth as the final victory of the Communist People's Party.

2028: An American finally lands on Mars, although only symbolically. A statue of the final President of the United States, Barbara Bush, is unveiled in the Earth History Museum of the People's Republic of Mars.

China will soon lead in space. (4, Insightful)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136195)

In a few years you will see China overtake the 'West' in the utilization of 'space' and the West will never be able to regain their prominence in that area. This is because the West does not have the one thing that is needed in order to maintain long tern projects of this magnitude. The West does not have continuous governments.

In China with one party rule they have the ability to put forward really long term plans. This is not so in the West where governments only have a life of about four years. No sooner does a Western government come to power than they start to campaign for the next election instead of moving their societies forward and usually in the process discontinue the grand plans of the previous governments so that they don't get credit for their success should their be any.

Re:China will soon lead in space. (4, Insightful)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136411)

Continuous, unchanging government also means that if they proceed down the wrong path, they'll just keep going, over the cliff. Having to be re-elected every so often keeps politicians on there toes, even if they do get re-elected 90% of the time.

that's no moon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136327)

it's a (chinese) spacestation.

Aiya! (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | more than 5 years ago | (#27136419)

Well, I guess that explains why that's how they'll say damn [kevinsullivansite.net] in the future [mts.net] .

Garbage (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27136509)

The OP has serious comprehension problems. China has two space station programs, one for now and one for about ten years in the future. Not multiple space stations in 2010. There will be multiple missions to one space station over a few years.

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