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China Completes First Space Docking Test

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the you-got-craft-in-my-lab dept.

China 106

MrSeb writes "China has joined two space vehicles together in orbit for the first time. The unmanned Shenzhou 8 craft, launched earlier this week, made contact with the Tiangong-1 space lab at 1729 GMT. The union occurred over China itself. Being able to dock two space vehicles together is a necessary capability for China if it wants to start building a space station towards the end of the decade."

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Watch out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937698)

They're after our moon!

Re:Watch out (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939586)

That's no moon.....

Egads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937700)

The Reddish Yellow Menace is worse than ever. Soon there will be a Space Docking Gap.

USA=Doomed (unless complete our transition to a healthy theo-facist political system soon).

Fast track into space (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937716)

China's certainly moving at a brisk pace. I expect they learned as much as they could from the US and Russia and are throwing their full weight behind it.

Best of luck to them, but please be honest with your setbacks (you will have them) rather than attempt to snow the world media with tales of a program which makes no mistakes at all, ever.

Re:Fast track into space (2)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938050)

Fast? They're already nearly a year late! The Leonov would beat them by miles even without a refueling stop at Europa.

Re:Fast track into space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938234)

Movies don't count

Re:Fast track into space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938962)

Considering what happened to the Tsien in the book, I would think that China made the smart move here.

Re:Fast track into space (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938098)

China's certainly moving at a brisk pace.

NASA:

First manned flight: 1962
First orbital rendevouz: 1965
First orbital docking: 1966

China:

First manned flight: 2003
First orbital docking: 2011

I'd say more 'glacial' than 'brisk'

Re:Fast track into space (2)

damburger (981828) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938216)

A little unfair. Tiangong 1 is quite a bit more sophisticated than the Agena Target Vehicle, and Shenzhou 8 can perform an automated docking whilst Gemini could not.

In any case, what is the rush?

Re:Fast track into space (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938400)

A little unfair. Tiangong 1 is quite a bit more sophisticated than the Agena Target Vehicle, and Shenzhou 8 can perform an automated docking whilst Gemini could not.

I agree with the original poster. Especially when you note that the first US person on the Moon came three years after the first US docking. Russia was similarly aggressive.

In any case, what is the rush?

Everything has time value. All else being equal, it's worth more doing something today than putting it off. You are right that China is not in a rush, but that's because they're treating the manned program currently as pure propaganda.

Re:Fast track into space (1)

Rik Rohl (1399705) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941088)

but that's because they're treating the manned program currently as pure propaganda.

What do you think the entire race to the moon was?

Re:Fast track into space (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941570)

I suppose it was, but more like pyramid-building. That is, making something that would be talked about for generations, not merely used as an indication that the US could play in the space game.

Re:Fast track into space (1)

isorox (205688) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938540)

China's certainly moving at a brisk pace.

NASA:

First manned flight: 1962
First orbital rendevouz: 1965
First orbital docking: 1966

Last manned flight 2011

Re:Fast track into space (1)

Morty (32057) | more than 2 years ago | (#37942882)

China's certainly moving at a brisk pace.

NASA:

First manned flight: 1962
First orbital rendevouz: 1965
First orbital docking: 1966

Last manned flight 2011

Most recent manned flight: 2011
Next planned manned flight: 2014

SpaceX says they'll be ready to launch people to LEO in 2014. So far they've hit their schedule targets.

Re:Fast track into space (1)

Confusador (1783468) | more than 2 years ago | (#37943942)

SpaceX says they'll be ready to launch people to LEO in 2014. So far they've hit their schedule targets.

Part of me hates to go off topic, and part of me hates to argue when your basic point is correct, but the pedant in me wins.

COTS was supposed to be done in 2010 so that CRS could start in 2011 (before the Shuttle retired), and as it stands we're looking at that being all pushed back a year. That's close enough for aerospace work, but not exactly on target. Not to mention that NASA isn't planning to have a crewed flight until 2016 (not because the vehicles couldn't be ready, but because that's how long NASA will take to certify them), and it'll probably be at least a year from that.

The point stands, though: Both the United States and China have ongoing plans to put people in space.

Re:Fast track into space (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948016)

It's NASA that's holding up the COTS demo flights, not SpaceX. NASA is insisting on having two trained astronauts on board the ISS for the SpaceX demo. One is on board now, and one is grounded due to the Soyuz mishap. SpaceX is fine with having only one trained astronaut guiding things.

Re:Fast track into space (2)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938872)

NASA did the first docking 4 years after the first flight because they were racing for the moon. We've already gotten to the moon, and so China doesn't need to race. Instead, they can go slower and more thoughtfully (and had we done that, arguably Apollo 1 would never have happened) and end up with something stronger at the end (unlike us, who ended up going to the moon 6 times and then pretty much giving up on space advancement beyond an LEO pickup truck).

Re:Fast track into space (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944868)

(and had we done that, arguably Apollo 1 would never have happened)

Apollo probably wouldn't have happened at all. Not that that's a bad thing...

But I don't see that we would have had less accidents per launch. One of the things you buy with high launch frequency is knowledge of how your vehicle works.

Re:Fast track into space (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37950052)

Apollo 1 was largely the result of rushing into the program without being willing to eliminate problems. The original Apollo capsules were poorly designed, poorly assembled death traps. In addition to the emergency hatch that took too long to open, the lax assembly methods set up the spark that ignited the fire in the first place. And running on 100% oxygen was a pretty obvious mistake as well.

You don't need any launches to figure out that careless assembly, an impossible-to-open-quickly emergency door, and running 100% fire fuel as your atmosphere invites disaster. This, of course, is proven by the fact that there had been no Apollo launches before 1, and the post-1 redesign happened before any further Apollos were launched.

Apollo forced NASA to do what it should have done all along - put the brakes on and examine the program for catastrophes-in-waiting. Many people involved with Apollo have said that if it hadn't been for the fire, the program probably wouldn't have been successful - at least not by 1969. Flip that statement around and you arrive at the idea that Apollo 1 was the result of haste getting priority over right (which actually all NASA loss-of-crew incidents can be traced to). The space race with the Russians was in Apollo's case the cause of that haste, just as the race to give the President something cool to say in his State of the Union address was a contributing factor to the haste that doomed Challenger, and just as the desire to get missions completed was the cause of Columbia because they didn't want to stop and redesign the ET to avoid insulation impacts on the orbiter.

In other words, that China appears to be taking things slow is not something they should be ashamed of or mocked for.

Re:Fast track into space (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37950986)

You don't need any launches to figure out that careless assembly, an impossible-to-open-quickly emergency door, and running 100% fire fuel as your atmosphere invites disaster. This, of course, is proven by the fact that there had been no Apollo launches before 1, and the post-1 redesign happened before any further Apollos were launched.

That's nice but irrelevant to my point. A more deliberate pace might have prevented the Apollo 1 fire and deaths of three astronauts, or it might not (recall please that if a point is "arguable" then automatically that means its negation is also "arguable"). But it would have opened up a variety of operational risks that don't exist with higher launch frequency.

The most complete test of a system is an "all up" test where you use all the systems of the vehicle (including testing the launch procedures on the ground as well) as it is intended to be used, but it's also the most risky. Things will show up that didn't appear on component tests or systems modeling. Turns out, actually using the vehicle for a real launch is a free all up test.

Also the higher the launch frequency, the less changes in the vehicle per launch. In addition, more real launches means more value per fixed cost of the rocket. An extremely low launch frequency tells me that someone doesn't think the launches provide inherent value (hence my accusation that the program is pure propaganda). If there was additional value beyond that, then they could realize that value sooner with a higher launch frequency.

In other words, that China appears to be taking things slow is not something they should be ashamed of or mocked for.

I didn't say it was something to mock. But perhaps they should be ashamed of it. Such a low launch rate is both dangerous and fundamentally not serious.

Re:Fast track into space (1)

shadowfaxcrx (1736978) | more than 2 years ago | (#37951678)

I'm still not sure why you think it's more safe to launch in rapid succession, especially in the early phases of a given program.

As I said, the "hurry up and launch!" attitude was the direct cause of Apollo 1. You could have launched 20 Apollos and never run across the Apollo 1 problems. They only figured out (by which I mean "finally agreed with the astronauts") that the door was a death trap when opening the door quickly was actually needed. If you launch 20 missions that never have an emergency, you don't need the door to open quickly and therefore don't learn anything about the problems with it, whereas you can find out about the problems without launching a single rocket by running a fire drill and discovering that, hey, that door opens kinda slow.

I agree with you that an all-up test is the most complete test of a system, however I don't agree with the implication that we should proceed to all-up tests as quickly as possible, and then consider operational launches to be all-up tests. There is plenty to learn from non-all-up tests. Not to overly harp on the door problem, but it would have been exposed with a static ground test of "pretend the capsule is on fire and try to get out." They could have done that at the factory - they didn't even need the rest of the rocket to be built yet, much less launched.

The crew wanted that as well - remember the famous prayer photograph? But NASA's response was, essentially, "Screw that! We ain't got time! We gotta beat the Ruskies!"

High launch frequencies may be safer when the vehicle is fully tested, and its assembly (if non-reusable) is down to a fine science strictly on the basis of crew familiarity - you're better at things you do often than things you do rarely. But in the experimental stages, launches should be analyzed for problems and near problems that crop up rather than blindly launching rocket after rocket and hoping that there isn't some undiscovered defect somewhere that will bite you when you're not looking.

Re:Fast track into space (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37941768)

LOL :)

In 1980s - not even 1960s, US controlled 30% of the global economy vs China's 1%. (So in 1960s China's must have been like 0.5%). When US was on the top, US spent dough and did a lot of fancy things - fueled by the Russian challenge. But 2010 is a whole new thing. US does not have its own manned space program (and it cant afford one either); US builds aircraft carriers - and china builds cheap missiles to knock those carriers off ... and finally... your economy sucks - and it doesnt seem anywhere close to getting fixed. Imagine - you cant even buy fighter planes cos they seem too expensive.

Welcome to the real world gentlemen. Get ready to see your salaries matched by guys in India, china, bulgaria.. and maybe even tiny places like nigeria.

Oh the standard Slashdot refrain of innovation ? GE & IBM get over 30% of their patents from China & India. So guess you dont have to pay some US citizen $90K to build a dumb website on Drupal (which he thinks is innovative).

So time you start getting trained to be plumbers or something else. Quickly please!

Re:Fast track into space (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945752)

I'd say more 'glacial' than 'brisk'

Ah, but glacier kan suddenly move fast sometimes, and then it is time to step aside. And China have been putting on speed steadily, whereas America's achievements have slowed down in the recent how many decades?

Re:Fast track into space (1)

cobbaut (232092) | more than 2 years ago | (#37947060)

If I recall correctly, then the first American *automated* docking was in 1976. 14 years after the first American man in space.
Overall I get the impression China is working long term, steadily going forward, not racing to plant a flag, but building to stay.

Re:Fast track into space (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37940416)

Wasn't space docking technology something we caught the Chinese stealing some decade or so ago? So yes, moving at a brisk pace on stole technology. Sounds pretty much par for the course.

A Space Race with one runner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937726)

Depressing. It's like watching the old Space Race all over again -- except the only people competing are the Chinese.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937930)

Depressing. It's like watching the old Space Race all over again -- except the only people competing are the Chinese.

Where are they racing to? There's nothing out there but rocks and craters, craters and rocks. If there were one Risa, one class M environment, even one blade of grass out there, I could see making the effort.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938006)

Enceladus and Europa could have alien orcas swimming under all that ice. Or alien aqua-people. (Why not?)

Re:A Space Race with one runner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939480)

or alien space niggers.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941236)

Oh I'm sure someone will come up with something more original in the way of a racial slur for the Europans...

Re:A Space Race with one runner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37940492)

It's hard to tell if you're this mentally stupid for real or it's simulated.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37943738)

Oh so this is a new form of trolling. And you're troll-stalking me. You must have a sad life.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938634)

Uh oh, a realist. Prepare to be crucified by the Space Nutters... China is just repeating the past, and will encounter the same barriers we did. Space is empty. It's hard to get there. It's deadly to humans. No green slave girls, sorry.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939872)

Oh there you are! Following me around like a little damaged lap dog! Tee hee! How hard were you crying that you're not modding me down from Mars?

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939968)

Where are they racing to?

Miranda.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

lgw (121541) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941168)

Like the US and Russia were, they're racing to show that they have a viable system of ICMBs that can deliver a nuclear payload anywhere in the world. You don't get the political bullying advantage until the end of that road.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941262)

I don't think even the Chinese have the balls to start WWIII no matter what their capabilities are...

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941530)

You don't need to start WW3 to win that game. You just need to have the ability to do so - then you're a part of the big boys' club.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

amliebsch (724858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944028)

InterContinental Mallistic Bissiles?

Re:A Space Race with one runner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938038)

Depressing. It's like watching the old Space Race all over again -- except the only people competing are the Chinese.

Well then I'll cheer for the Chinese, since all the other nations are not interested in competing. Heh in the end a red moon is better than no moon at all.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938536)

So when you launch a single Han into space, does that make them a Han... Solo?

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939638)

So when you launch a single Han into space, does that make them a Han... Solo?

Yes. and in space, you can't hear the sound of one Han clapping.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941540)

It kinda makes you wonder... if moon colonies and whatnot all end up being Chinese, and the Western world sits back and does nothing, what does it say about the respective socio-political systems of either entity?

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37942890)

You could go back and revisit all of the Firefly episodes, or you could wait to see what happens. The Chinese are essentially at 1965. It is a bit early to worry about learning Mandarin in in order to be an astronaut.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939432)

Depressing? This is great! I'm no big fan of the Chinese, but any country acting towards human expansion into the solar system is most welcome news. While NASA (or at least the US congress) is in the process of shattering our hopes, at least we have someone else to fulfil them.

Re:A Space Race with one runner (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941280)

You know they're just scouting locations for new Foxconn factories and gold farmers, right?

Or (0)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#37937858)

an orbital weapons platform leading to a new cold war. Six of one, half-dozen of the other...

Re:Or (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938184)

I'm not worried. Every super power has ICBM capability anyways. Unless you want to get creative with nukes, what's the point? Last man standing (in space)? For how long?

Re:Or (1)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940034)

Space based kinetic weapon platforms are the next logical step in the arms race. Relatively cheap to build, all the required technology already exists, immune to any existing anti-missile technology, and can deliver all the destructive power of a nuke with none of the radioactive fallout to deal with. Add the X-37B launch vehicle into the mix and you have the means neutralize your opponents orbital assets and claim the ultimate high ground.

Now, to add to their military base (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937902)

Yes, few seem to realize that China's Space program is a miltiary only. They are more military than was USSR's

Re:Now, to add to their military base (0)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941628)

If you mean that every launch they make has a direct military goal, then that is obviously false.

If you mean that their space program is tightly integrated with military, and that the final goals are primary military (and research is done in addition to that where possible), then it's true, but it was equally true for both USSR and US at the height of the Space Race.

Re:Now, to add to their military base (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37942246)

I'm willing to cede Asia to China.

The idea that the US should build a military-industrial complex to defend people who REFUSE to match our level of effort is absurd, doubly so when both sides are our economic competition and do nothing for the US.

I demand that this story be removed. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937904)

The "docking" procedure is too similar to "sexual intercourse", a topic which is frightening and bewildering to most Slashdot members. Remove this, before widespread hysteria ensues among the innocent Slashdot membership.

Re:I demand that this story be removed. (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938598)

You can think of it as "Wonder Twin powers: Activate!" if that makes you feel better.

In other words.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37937914)

So, "Space docking" is also sex move, where the man shits in a vagina. The title is now disgusting. You're welcome.

Re:In other words.... (1)

InspectorGadget1964 (2439148) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940292)

I’m not surprised this post was anonymous. Otherwise the poster would have been identified as a vulgar, retarded and immature person that most likely never finished primary school.

Re:In other words.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37942350)

vulgar, retarded and immature person

Way to imply that you are intellectually and morally superior to the AC, while still using the offensive term "retarded".

Headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938000)

An Internet savvy editor would have rephrased that headline. I almost choked on my lunch when I read it.

hint.
"A Cleveland Steamer Sails Around Lake Erie"

Re:Headline (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938144)

I thought the AC above you was trolling...

Re:Headline (1)

RobNich (85522) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938288)

I too didn't believe the above AC. Two thoughts, in no particular order:

  • That's fucking disgusting. And why?!
  • So the "internet savvy" should know every perverted thing that has a name? And avoid ever using a similar phrase?

Re:Headline (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940512)

My preferred defense for all the imaginatively named, but very unlikely sexual acts (e.g. space docking, Alaska pipeline, Cleavland steamer, * Sanchez etc etc), is to assume they were all invented by a bored virgin somewhere in his mothers basement. Pure gadankin experiments reflecting anger at the girls that ignore the little troll.

I sometimes wounder what his /. id is.

T`ubgirl (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938020)

NetBSD 4osts on [goat.cx]

The U.S. won't be able to compete with China (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938110)

To be honest with you guys, the U.S. won't be able to seriously compete with China in the next-gen space race, at least not with the current generation of engineers and manufacturing capacity. Many senior professors in my University expressed this concern long time ago: the smartest American kids are not into STEM anymore, they just following the trashy reality shows and wanna get some quick money without hard working. NASA is in great trouble recruiting new scients/engineers who know how to operate the old stuff built by the last (and better) generation of American scientists/engineers, let along finding someone who can actually come up with something new. The big tech companies are in a better position than NASA b/c companies can hire non-U.S. workers while NASA, for obvious reasons, can only hire Americans. And even if the few real fine young American scientists can still design something cool, it is very dubious that 10 years from now the U.S. will be able to implement/manufacture that piece of very complicated thing which requires a whole solid manufacturing base.

So yeah, the future is pretty pessimistic, you won't see another round of space race because you can't expect a country full of wall street elites, lawyers, reality show stars but no real scientists, engineers, and even quality manufacturing workers to put another man to the Mars ---- that generation has long GONE.

P.S.: I was born and raised in China but I've been living in America for more than a decade, I wrote the above not because I hate America, quite the opposite, I love America and I am so sorry to see such a great country slowly but inevitably spiral into irrelevance.

Re:The U.S. won't be able to compete with China (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938778)

I was born and raised in the US and been having this discussion for years. Ironically with many of those potential engineering students.

You know what? Those of us who aren't just sitting around our cheap apartments or parents basements decided against going into engineering and went for the high-profit jobs, mostly in software and/or communications industries. Great for the pay but lousy for the advancement of humanity. Additionally most stopped being free thinkers as they found cliques they'd like to be a part of, and slowly faded into irrelevance.

Maybe it's different elsewhere, but it seems like a disturbing downward trend to me.

software and/or communications is needed for space (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939332)

manufacturing is just part of space and let's face it mars is long term or one way type of trip right now. And going past it? any one working on wrap drives?

Re:software and/or communications is needed for sp (2)

Matheus (586080) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939896)

A wrap drive would be pretty cool... you wrap the universe around yourself and then everywhere is only a step away.

Brilliant!

Re:The U.S. won't be able to compete with China (1)

NFN_NLN (633283) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940490)

Great for the pay but lousy for the advancement of humanity. Additionally most stopped being free thinkers as they found cliques they'd like to be a part of, and slowly faded into irrelevance.

Maybe it's different elsewhere, but it seems like a disturbing downward trend to me.

Not everyone has the dedication and discipline for purely altruistic endeavors such as.. trolling the internet and posting flamebait, but kudos to you.

Re:The U.S. won't be able to compete with China (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37942286)

China spends and humanity benefits in the end, as with the US space effort.

I've heard tale of countries without large military-industrial complexes and which don't participate in any "space race" which are pleasant to live in.

Can anyone else verify?

Re:The U.S. won't be able to compete with China (1)

tsotha (720379) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944210)

To be honest with you guys, the U.S. won't be able to seriously compete with China in the next-gen space race

Uh huh. Maybe you can explain what we would be racing to. Mars? Are we going to spend a few trillion dollars to plant a flag on Mars? Why?

The problem is outside of things we already do pretty well (spy sats, communications) and the odd science mission there isn't a hell of a lot to do up there. I mean, something that makes sense to do from an economic standpoint. I'm all for making sure we stay ahead on the military side, to the extent one exists, but putting people in space is a big waste of money. China is welcome to win that race.

Re:The U.S. won't be able to compete with China (1)

Ice Tiger (10883) | more than 2 years ago | (#37945454)

With even small asteroids containing roughly 20 trillion dollars worth of industrial and precious metals [wikipedia.org] there is nothing that makes going into space valuable from an economic standpoint?

I suspect the first nation that successfully exploits space economically will basically get catapulted to premier world status simply by the competitive advantage that such disruptive technology would bring.

Re:The U.S. won't be able to compete with China (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948456)

Part of what makes the metals precious is their rarity. What do you think will happen to the price if you suddenly doubled the supply? That's right. That $20 trillion dollar asteroid plummets in worth. Besides, it would take trillions of dollars to build the infrastructure needed to extract those metals.

vhomo (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938158)

Don't talk, act (2)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938330)

An old Chinese proverb - don't talk, act.

Like it used to be, here and there.

(No, it wasn't an old Chinese proverb, but it could have been)

Bad omen? (1)

Megahard (1053072) | more than 2 years ago | (#37938358)

First headline: China completes docking test
Second headline: Watch the fiery re-entry

surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938444)

China grows faster than we think in technology. I remember I was surprise by their

usb jewel [hkcolordigital.com]

when I visited ShenZhen this summer.

Unreal (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37938564)

Don't worry. It was all faked on a sound stage in Bollywood. ;-)

In Soviet Russia (0)

Roachie (2180772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939042)

China docks with YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

bpsbr_ernie (1121681) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939834)

I can't wait to see the giant Hello Kitty space station, that will soon follow this accomplishment... :)

Re:In Soviet Russia (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939984)

You'll have to get the Japanese going with their space program first before you'd see that. ;)

TFS is incorrect, this was done 4 years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939056)

Contrary to the statement in the summary, China joined two space vehicles in orbit over 4 years ago. However, the join was for a very short time period. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Chinese_anti-satellite_missile_test [wikipedia.org]

apparently still a tricky operation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939590)

Didn't some supply capsule smack into the International Space Station attempting an automatic docking not more than a few years ago?

Re:apparently still a tricky operation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37942038)

ISS-38P, July 02/2010.
I don't think it hit anything. Just failed to dock in the initial attempt.

Sweet! Now our astromen can order... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939592)

...Chinese takeout! Delivery surcharge will be a bitch, though.

Congrats! (5, Insightful)

T-Mckenney (2008418) | more than 2 years ago | (#37939598)

Instead of playing who has the bigger cock here (I'm looking at you America, Russia, ESA). Lets congratulate another country making its way into space, opening the way for human expansion to the cosmos. We need to get over this "my country has a bigger cock than yours" or "the USA is doomed because China is now in space" and start concentrating on collaboration as a species. Congrats, China! Welcome to the club. -T

Re:Congrats! (1)

Clsid (564627) | more than 2 years ago | (#37940014)

Best comment ever!

Re:Congrats! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37940764)

Everyone knows China has an incredibly small cock. Please stop trying to distract us from the important issues in - errr - at hand.

Re:Congrats! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944426)

Says the man with the smaller cock.

Re:Congrats! (1)

thej1nx (763573) | more than 2 years ago | (#37944872)

Collaboration as a species only works if the other portion of the said species is also interested in such a collaboration.

What you need to be asking is, is this a friendly nation? or is it a rival? And if latter, then will you be comfortable if the rival supersedes you at some point, or has an equal military technology/might? Last I checked, this situation did not sit so well between USA and USSR. And China happens be yet another semi-communist/fascist country, if I am not wrong.

Let them compare (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 2 years ago | (#37948096)

If comparing themselves to others makes them actually *do* something, then I'm all for it. A lot of US research/exploration in the past was to beat Russia, so perhaps progress from China will spur others to invest in some more research of their own.

China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939632)

As long as companies like Apple full on endorse Communism over free people for profit they win.
I put my life on the line against Communism serving under Regan for nothing.

mod dowrn (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37939918)

First Space Docking Test (1)

Lueseiseki (1189513) | more than 2 years ago | (#37941442)

Well that's kind of strange. I've seen headlines describing the advent of sex in space before but this is two guys doing it to each other? Not that there's anything wrong with that I mean...

Re:First Space Docking Test (1)

Rob Nance (645531) | more than 2 years ago | (#37949944)

Well that's kind of strange. I've seen headlines describing the advent of sex in space before but this is two guys doing it to each other? Not that there's anything wrong with that I mean...

This would have been funnier if you had actually used the term correctly (hint: it's not two dudes).

Congratulations... (1)

Methos137 (1172787) | more than 2 years ago | (#37943860)

Congratulations...your military space station now has 113 anti satellite missiles now targeted at it China....welcome to the space race. Play nice. Remember, no one can hear you scream in space.

Is their docking mechanism compatible with the USS (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#37943906)

If I understand correctly, the Russians, Americans, Japanese, and several other nations agreed a long time ago on a common docking mechanism so that everyone's vehicles could dock with each other. This is a major advantage for international cooperation. Since so many nations use the same system, I assume that this is not a top secret design. Did the Chinese use the same mechanism, or are they standard a new competing-standards problem? I hope not the latter. It would really suck for all future space vehicle interactions to be subject to screwy adapters - especially when lives may be in immediate danger. IMHO the real test of Chinese docking would be to dock successfully with the USS.

I like to believe that the essential 'differentness' of space will quickly mean that the folks who are working in space will feel more cooperative and protective toward fellow space travelers than the groundlings below them. This will encourage more cooperation between teams in different orbital stations than the sponsoring nations might prefer. Geopolitics may affect space for a while, but I think in the long term the conflicts will be more about space folks needing less control from their terran sponsors. But maybe I read too many old SF stories with that thesis.

Re:Is their docking mechanism compatible with the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944470)

China expressed their interest to join the ISS program for many years in the past. But the US denied their participation, that's why China is going at it alone. I too believe that cooperation would be the way to go for scientific advances, but i doubt that it would be the case with all the political hoopla in the world.

Space program going ahead... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37943956)

All pointers showing China is moving in upward direction in their various programs

Tian Gong 1 - 2011 - Space docking test, control test
Tian Gong 2 - 2013 - Manned docking test
Tian Gong 3 - 2015
Tian Gong 4 - Full 60 tons space lab setup...

Chang'e 3 - 2013 (sending a rover) - landing test, moving around
Chang'e 4 - 2017 (samples return?) - return test, getting samples
Chang'e 5 - 2020 (human mission?) - landing/return of manned mission, making the 2nd nation that land human to moon
Chang'e 6
Chang'e 7 - 2030 Basic colony structure setup/moon base for beginning of Death Star..

Ying Huo 1 - 2011 Mars exploration probe with Russian
Ying Huo 2 - 2015 ???

negro tech (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37944330)

I'm about to turn blue waiting for the first African satellite in space.
Is it possible that the negro isn't capable of higher learning? Just a thought.

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