×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

China Reveals Its Space Plans Up To 2016

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the moving-on-up dept.

China 218

PolygamousRanchKid writes "China plans to launch space labs and manned ships and prepare to build space stations over the next five years, according to a plan released Thursday that shows the country's space program is gathering momentum. China's space program has already made major breakthroughs in a relatively short time, although it lags far behind the United States and Russia in space technology and experience. The country will continue exploring the moon using probes, start gathering samples of the moon's surface, and 'push forward its exploration of planets, asteroids and the sun.' Some elements of China's program, notably the firing of a ground-based missile into one of its dead satellites four years ago, have alarmed American officials and others who say such moves could set off a race to militarize space. That the program is run by the military has made the U.S. reluctant to cooperate with China in space, even though the latter insists its program is purely for peaceful ends."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

218 comments

The final frontier (5, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534546)

At this rate, if we want Star Trek to remain at all within the thinnest stretches of credibility, the next reboot of the series will have the Enterprise captained by Sulu and Kirk will be pitching manure in Iowa.

Re:The final frontier (5, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534644)

Welll..... if it is going to be captained by Sulu I think the love scenes are going to turn out a bit differently.....

Re:The final frontier (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535132)

You mean something like the ones in ST: Hidden Frontier and all the other Rob Caves ST fanseries?
Apparently homosexuality isn't cured by crossing the magnetosphere, go figure!

Re:The final frontier (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535706)

We had (too) many boobs and (too) little Sci-Fi in Star Trek VOY and ENT... (I didn't watch DS9 because Odo didn't do anything and the station was a station...)

Maybe, it should be the LGBT communities turn next time they relaunch the series.

The writers would love it and wouldn't care if XY kisses XY or XX kisses XX or whatever... and Dykes have Camel-toes too

Re:The final frontier (5, Insightful)

SteveFoerster (136027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534666)

Well, except that Sulu is Japanese.

Re:The final frontier (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534994)

"Sulu" can't be Japanese, they don't have Ls.

Re:The final frontier (0)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535356)

They have no Rs either.

Re:The final frontier (1, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535948)

Studies show that Japanese speakers have great difficulty distinguishing between "r" and "l" sounds. Kind of like how English speakers can't even hear the difference between most Chinese words.

Re:The final frontier (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536624)

lan and liang are pronounced the same from an English speaker's perspective, but someone learning Chinese will quickly learn the difference, even if they have trouble speaking new sounds they've never used before (much harder as an adult than as a child).

Re:The final frontier (1, Interesting)

MacGyver2210 (1053110) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536030)

There are entire syllable groups in the Japanese alphabet which begin with R. It is not an uncommon letter in Japanese.

Of notable interest: teRiyaki, Roppongi, kaRate...the list goes on.

It is the Chinese language that substitutes 'L' sounds for 'R' sounds, and the Japanese language that substitutes the 'R' sound for 'L' sounds.

You will not likely see a Chinese person named Karakura, and will not likely see a Japanese person named Lipang.

Re:The final frontier (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536128)

What I meant is that the Japanese language does not contain any of the roman characters [a-z].
The language is only made of two alphabets, hiragana and katakana, and kanji. Thus, again, the Rs and Ls and their other 24 friends are not part of the language.

When it comes to provide an approximative western/roman pronunciation/spelling, the "closest" roman characters were selected.
Regarding the "ra,ri,ru,re,ro" (and some other derivatives) the "r" was chosen against the "l" according to international conventions - sorry I cannot show the actual Japanese characters since they are filtered out by the /. scripts.

Re:The final frontier (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536676)

Romaji is recognized as standard, and includes western/roman letters. And the letters were chosen poorly initially for Chinese, which is why Peking changed names to Beijing. Those living in Beijing always called it Beijing, but the people who first created transcription spelled Beijing as Peking (with very soft "p" and "k" lost over the years to the harder and worse present pronunciation of Peking, hence why the transcription was completely re written, resulting in pinyin (which officially codes Chinese into roman letters). And uses the letter "l" and "r" often. The loss of the letters is regional. Those in the north pronounce "r" and those who are native Cantonese speakers have softer (missing) "r" sounds and sound more like "L". The pinyin letters were chosen for he most "pure" northern Chinese (Han Beijing pronunciation, similar to Shanghai), and not the Hong Kong/Guangzhou pronunciations (Cantonese strongholds), so the deviation from expectations will increase with distance from Beijing, though officially written the same, even if pronounced diffferently,much like people in Boston drive a cah to work, while those in Texas drive a carrr. Those from England or Boston are worse about "r"s than the Chinese.

Re:The final frontier (1, Troll)

murdocj (543661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534834)

Right... the Chinese are almost up to where the USA was 50 years ago, so they must be ahead.

Re:The final frontier (1, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534954)

They don't really use spacesuits, that silver uniform is just the duct tape holding the cosmonaut to the ACME rocket sticking out of the ground.

The test launch should go well as long as the cosmonaut doesn't look down and make gravity kick in. Man, if he does, that rocket's gonna explode. People can survive the fall, but the explosions tend to leave them in disfigured in blackface.

Re:The final frontier (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535750)

They have their own copies of the Sokol and Orlan suits. The Orlan was based on a suit formerly intended for the first Soviet Cosmonaut. So they can do the spacesuits quite fine.

Re:The final frontier (3)

mug funky (910186) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535082)

to be fair, NASA is sitting about where NASA was 50 years ago. their idea of advancement now is a rocket just about as powerful as the Saturn V was.

Re:The final frontier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535078)

"......to seek out new worlds and civilizations, and eat them."

Re:The final frontier (2)

rust627 (1072296) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535622)

My Mission
To Camply go where no hand has set foot
To explore new Vistas
Quash new Monsters
And make Space
A safe Place
For the Human Race
For I, Am,
CAPTAIN KREMMIN (He's so hunky)

Thanks to the late Kenny Everett
I know its off topic but after the eat them comment......

Re:The final frontier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535824)

I know its off topic but after the eat them comment......

Offtopic? Says you. China will grow larger!

Re:The final frontier (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535234)

the next reboot of the series will have the Enterprise captained by Sulu and Kirk will be pitching manure in Iowa.

I'd watch that if the movie poster had Shatner posing with Nichelle Nichols in an "American Gothic" scene.

Re:The final frontier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535880)

Sulu is Japanese. Unless Japan is part of China in that history...

Re:The final frontier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536352)

Give it a few years. Everything's gonna be a part of China soon enough

Uh, yeah (4, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534660)

From TFA:

China's space program has already made major breakthroughs in a relatively short time

NASA went from the first manned spaceflight to walking on the moon in around seven years. China first flew a manned spaceflight eight years ago; what major breakthroughs have they made in comparison?

Re:Uh, yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534696)

However, what all has NASA done since then? :)

Re:Uh, yeah (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534780)

However, what all has NASA done since then? :)

More than what China has done before or since? Not denigrating the Chinese efforts, but NASA hasn't exactly been sitting on their hands. How many Mars probes, Lunar orbits, or comet flybys has the Chinese space agency done?

Re:Uh, yeah (4, Interesting)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534908)

Not denigrating Nasa efforts... discovery of water on the moon is awesome... can't wait for curiosity to land... but china is definitely moving forward for MANNED exploration... while the world is in a recession. When they announced they wanted 10 space stations in orbit (not a typo), i thought they were mad... now, I am thinking... hey it might not have been such a crazy announcement after all... all that because they were not allowed to participate in the ISS.

It actually may be a good thing for Nasa too... because soon china space program will increasingly be doing more interesting stuff, there may be a new space race and therefore an incentive to increase the budget.

The problem with Nasa is so many awesome projects get canceled every new election as its direction changes... and they keep reinventing the wheel... stalling the space program, wasting resources.

Lunar Water Not Discovered by NASA (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534956)

Just to correct, but it was the research team led by Carle Pieters of Brown University which discovered water on the Moon, using the M3 instrument on the Indian-launched Chandrayaan-1 space probe.

NASA just followed up with a bunch of announcements after the fact, to drown out that landmark announcement with their own also-ran announcements.

Re:Lunar Water Not Discovered by NASA (3, Informative)

youn (1516637) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535206)

My apologies, it was Chandrayaan indeed... Though, it is interesting to note Nasa did contribute the M3 mineral maper module that made the discovery... I may be wrong but without it, I do not think that without this instrument, it would have been possible to make the discovery (not to diminish in any way Chandrayaan's accomplishment... awesome to see a new country doing something interesting, Kudos to the Indians). To be fair, I was more referring to the Nasa LCROSS mission which actually settled for sure there water was present in big quantities... before that, there was a lot of speculation

Re:Lunar Water Not Discovered by NASA (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535548)

Actually, no. What it did was CONFIRM that it was water. Clementine and Lunar Prospector actually found the water. It was Chandrayaan-1 that confirmed.

Re:Uh, yeah (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535840)

I wouldn't be surprised if by the time China started putting space stations in orbit SpaceX and Bigelow were doing the same.

Re:Uh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536648)

It actually may be a good thing for Nasa too... because soon china space program will increasingly be doing more interesting stuff, there may be a new space race and therefore an incentive to increase the budget.

Budgets are great - but there's NO MONEY!

Re:Uh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536538)

More than what China has done before or since? Not denigrating the Chinese efforts, but NASA hasn't exactly been sitting on their hands. How many Mars probes, Lunar orbits, or comet flybys has the Chinese space agency done?

The real (and much more sobering) question is, will the Chinese surpass us while we continue to use these same tired old excuses and continue living vicariously through our grandparents' accomplishments, and our economy collapses into dust?

Re:Uh, yeah (4, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535478)

put together a space shuttle. Put up multiple space stations. Have numerous probes all over the solar system. Landed on 3 different surfaces with multiple probes on 2 of them. Flown a probe OUT of the solar system. Massive telescope in orbit. Have found numerous planets around our galaxy. etc. etc. Have funded multiple private launch systems which will carry cargo and shortly ppl. Got the ISS going with multiple other space organizations. Helped most of these other space organizations to make them a success with the ISS. Likewise, developed the VASIMR, Transhab which were taken private. Did the original nuke engines that are capable of sending us all over the solar system.

But otherwise, nothing much.

Re:Uh, yeah (3, Interesting)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534944)

the US merely built some big missiles based on captured German technology and found some nutcases from the USAF to ride them. they haven't gone back since because the budget was justified by the Cold War, not science & exploration.

the ISS and defunct STS have always been massive financial black holes and i'm thankful the Aussie government has been smart (or stupid) enough avoid them and to remain a "user" rather than "provider" of space services.

china will have their play and show the world how great they are, then realize how pointless it is, and put it all on the back burner. russia is probably the only country in any position to actually make some money from launch services, but they're smart enough to balance the risk

until the "moron" gene is discovered and eliminated, humanity isn't ready for space. we are still a bunch of feudal states teeming full of all the seven sins. nothing we do in space could possibly be for the good of anything but self-serving corporate shareholders, and the more we go there the more we're likely to fuck it up for future generations.

believe it or not i'm a space fanatic - i'm just a bit more pragmatic than the pathetic mars-roving wannabes

Re:Uh, yeah (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535018)

Bah hah haaa! Another Slashdot Superior Being! Yes, you're so much better than us. That's why you sit there wallowing in bitter hate. Moron gene... right. Good science there, geek filth. And just ignore all the fantastic science NASA and its international partners have accomplished, pushing back our knowledge of the universe to mere instants before its creation.

But you just sit there and gripe.

Now shut the fuck up before you embarass yourself any further.

Re:Uh, yeah (2, Funny)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535122)

pushing back our knowledge of the universe to mere instants before its creation.

...for what exactly? has it paved the way for a better toothbrush or something?

But you just sit there and gripe.

You must be new here.

Re:Uh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535146)

instants before its creation

hahaha... before its creation

definitely the moron gene right there

Re:Uh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535286)

I would be interested to know what positive outcomes the ISS has achieved, especially those breakthroughs that would be impossible without the expense and risk associated with a permanent orbiting space station. In this case Google wasn't very friendly. I found this page (http://www.iss.com/about/achievements.html) but its really just a list of things added to the ISS.

Re:Uh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535344)

http://www.iss.com/ [iss.com] is a website for an instrumentation company dipshit, but the rest stands to reason

Re:Uh, yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536642)

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

It's inexcusable that an RTG hasn't been present on every probe, satellite, & rover present in space. There is going to be a time in the very near future where more energy is going to be dedicated to un-fucking the earth's gravity well from debris than will be dedicated to leaving it.

The dick measuring of the USA's & China's anti-satellite tests should be treated as Crimes Against Humanity same as if they were deliberately bombarding the planet with asteroids. God help us if we can't figure out a way to un-fuck the mistakes of the past and move towards the future in time to form a self-sufficient colony before we get wiped out by the next big fucking asteroid.

Most people seem to be apathetic about the future beyond the term of their own lifespan. Clearly our culture has failed somewhere along the way that respect has faltered for the legacy we have inherited from our ancestors from the past 65 million years.

Re:Uh, yeah (4, Informative)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535654)

Russia and the various allied countries after WW2 all used captured German rocket technology and China has basically purchased all their space related systems from Russia. The best US space based technology today is the X-37 orbital vehicle that can destroy or deploy satellites if necessary. Most of the newest US tech is targeted towards unmanned vehicles because we have reached the level that a human pilots cannot handle. For example the F-22 does not use it's full capabilities because a human pilot can not withstand the experience. Exploring the solar system is a perfect job for unmanned vehicles. If they discovery any thing really interesting a manned mission could be justified. Also the satellite China took out was in very low earth orbit. The really critical satellites are deployed in high orbits.

Re:Uh, yeah (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536856)

The problem with the American spaceflight effort wasn't the construction of the STS or ISS, it was the notion that they were the ultimate and final product and the pinnacle of what human spaceflight could ever achieve. More specifically, it was the problem of putting "all of the eggs in one basket" and hoping that a high flight rate would keep costs down for individual missions.

Just as important, once these programs were seen as fiscal black holes (which I will openly admit), they should have been shut down with other alternatives [wikipedia.org] serious considered.

The jab at "capturing German technology" is patently unfair. Yes, the German rocket team that helped to develop the V-2 was brought to America and put to work for the U.S. Army (it wasn't even the Army Air Corps, it was the Artillery branch that ended up getting the missile program), but there were very much indigenous efforts for building rockets in America as well. This remark completely dismisses the efforts of Robert Goddard, not to mention the tens of thousands of engineers who ended up working for NASA and NASA contractors to help build the rockets that ended up going to the Moon and elsewhere.

For those so clueless to think that all you need is a modified ICBM in order to go into space, I need to point out that the problem domains are really quite different, and the "advanced" spaceflight rockets really can't be used for ICBMs or the other way around either. Yes, when rocketry was first being established you could have a "dual purpose" rocket that could both deliver a heavy warhead and put somebody into space, but even then it was design compromises that ultimately were unsustainable.

What needed to happen with both the ISS and the STS program was a series of iterative programs that would build upon the successes and failures of the previous designs. In other words, there should have been a Shuttle Mark II, version 3, 4, 5 and so forth. It also should have been a much smaller vehicle and there should have been an operational tempo to have many more flights removing the ego of having the perfect design.... which it never had. The Skylab program ended up putting into space a station that had about half of the volume of the ISS (and about the size of MIR) for a substantial fraction of the cost of the ISS. The question should not have been why the ISS, but why there wasn't a Skylab II mission built in the 1980's. Oh.... of course the Saturn V, arguably one of the most successful rockets produced by NASA, was dumped down a rat hole too in favor of the "one true program" that redid everything.

Otherwise, I'm trying to figure out why this post was modded anything but "troll" and "flamebait". It certainly deserves it.

Re:Uh, yeah (1, Flamebait)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534992)

NASA went from the first manned spaceflight to walking on the moon in around seven years. China first flew a manned spaceflight eight years ago; what major breakthroughs have they made in comparison?

Made an iPhone clone [gizmodo.com] .
Invited WalMart [wal-martchina.com] to China.
Relaunched a 1980's Ukranian Aircraft Carrier [wikipedia.org] .
Filed more crappy patents than anyone else [india.com] .

They sure are scary little folk...

Re:Uh, yeah (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535860)

They are also in the process of building an organic carrier group including missile destroyers, attack submarines.
They reverse engineered the Su-27 and Su-33 into the J-11 and J-15 respectively.
They made their first credible indigenous fighter the J-10.
They showed a stealth fighter-bomber prototype the J-20.
They launched the Tiangong-1 space station module which will be docked probably next year.
They are in the process of becoming the largest space launching nation in the world in the next decade once Long March 5 comes online and they start increasing the quantity and quality of their satellite systems..

Re:Uh, yeah (1, Troll)

x_man (63452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535090)

Everyone has forgotten that NASA landed a probe on frickin' Titan just a few years ago! That's a motherfuckin' moon way the hell out there orbiting motherfuckin' Saturn and we set a probe down on the motherfuckin' surface and took some pics in the process.

And China has put a person in orbit. How nice.

Re:Uh, yeah (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535372)

They're making breakthroughs in THEIR space program, not in ours. Yes, for us it just looks like catch-up, and it is. But they have to start somewhere, and the point is that they are catching up very quickly while we seem to be going nowhere.

Case in point: NASA's 2010 budget was $19 billion. The Chinese Space Agency's annual budget is estimated by analysts at $1.3 billion. NASA has 14.6 times the funding and yet the technology gap is rapidly closing. China may not be doing things better just yet, but they're certainly doing it faster and cheaper.

Let's also not forget that the cost of the Apollo program was $136 billion, adjusted to 2007 dollars. That's enough to keep the CNSA at current funding for the next 100 years. China is nowhere near committing itself to the level of funding that we needed to put a man on the moon; why would you even make the comparison to Apollo unless you are simply ignorant of context? If they manage to do it on their own terms within the next century, then they would have done it more smartly than we did. Personally, I think they have plenty of breathing room to make it happen, which is not very good news for 'patriotic' types clinging to something that happened over 40 years ago. I remember as a child of the 80s that WWII seemed like ancient history, but at the time it was also only about 40 years past. Does that put things in context? Children of today and tomorrow can't relate at all to the Apollo program. You might as well be talking about the thirteen colonies for all it means to them. Sure they'll see Neil Armstrong on hilariously old tapes, but they'll be seeing the Chinese space program in the here and now, streaming live on the interwebs (okay, with censor delay), something happening within their own lifetimes. No amount of "we got there first" is going to save NASA's reputation. Ford did it first too, and nobody cares now because Honda eventually did it better.

Politically, China has the advantage that it's not involved in a dick-waving contest with some Soviet boogeyman, and instead of racing toward a symbolic goal that serves no tangible purpose, they're slowly and steadily building up a knowledge base to make the space program a sustainable benefit for their society. Instead of figuring how to get to the moon first, they're trying to figure out if the moon can be exploited somehow, and the best way to do so. Their goals are strategic and practical, compared to NASA's which seem to be made up mostly of unspecific ambitions fueled by the academic curiosity to study things far beyond our grasp, and being content to leave them there.

Qeng Ho beginnings? (3, Interesting)

ridgecritter (934252) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534674)

Feels odd to be living through the prequel to a Vernor Vinge novel....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Deepness_in_the_Sky [wikipedia.org]

Re:Qeng Ho beginnings? (1)

motiebrown (2320556) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536656)

We've had reference to Star Trek and now Vinge. Does anyone remember the story by Cordwainer Smith, where China colonized Venus by parachuting people in. I'm told his stories were political allegory and although that method seems a little over the top, there is little doubt of his understanding of China.

We should have nuked them 30 years ago (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534748)

If you think I am joking, wait and see how the next 20 years play out.

Re:We should have nuked them 30 years ago (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534788)

we should start nuking nascar events. biggest concentration of retard mutants I can think of.

Re:We should have nuked them 30 years ago (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534892)

Because the world needs mutant hillbillies running around...

US Plans also announced (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534810)

Watch what the Chinese are doing. Also the Indians. Maybe the French and the rest of Europe.

Try to beg nickels out of Congress.

Plan Neil Armstrong's funeral video.

Drink Tang.

Private Space Ventures (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38534850)

The private sector may be about to take the space torch and run with it. In which case, they'll soon outdistance every govt, whether American, Chinese, or otherwise.

Re:Private Space Ventures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535076)

Well, at least in their press releases. But once the cutbacks and layoffs come in, the workers will be out of oxygen while in orbit around Ceres.

Re:Private Space Ventures (0)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535402)

The cost of insurance and regulatory compliance will be what kills them, along with short-term shareholder apathy.

"[investors] will finance space systems built with existing technology, but [investors] will not finance systems built with promising revolutionary technologies - not at any price"
Source: TESTIMONY OF PETER B. TEETS, President and Chief Operating Officer, Lockheed Martin Corporation, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND SPACE OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON COMMERCE, SCIENCE AND TRANSPORTATION, May 20, 1999, Page 2

If the likes of Lockheed Martin and Boeing (VentureStar) can't get it right even with significant government backing, what hopes have the little guys like SpaceX got? Their little wanking party will be over soon enough.

Re:Private Space Ventures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535506)

Boeing wasn't involved in the VentureStar or X-33 programs. AFAIK it was the skunk bunker all the way.

American funded space programs ... (4, Funny)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38534990)

Well at least one of the American funded (Walmart shoppers, etc) space programs has a plan. Too bad its not the US based one.

What the hell is wrong with you? (4, Insightful)

sabernet (751826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535002)

Sorry, not even going to post this anonymously.

Whatever you think of how China's gov't works. No matter the motivations. How is this anything other than an overall good thing? Seriously? We have a space agency in the world right now with both the government funding, the will and potentially the skills to advance manned spaceflight again!

Worse case scenario, things don't work out and remain as they are(not counting deaths here since that's always a possibility with these and NASA as well as the Russians have had their fair share).

Best case scenario: They pull off something here and either succeed or encourage this awesome spirit of competition we've been sorely lacking since the Soviet Union and the US fought over the moon.

Please, keep your racist, xenophobic, nationalist or just plain ignorant bile to yourselves and enjoy what MOST people who admire the stars have been wishing for for a very long time: a renewed interest in space travel.

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535062)

You need to take five minutes out of your day to watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j9Z05xyGB0c

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (2, Interesting)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535114)

Worse case scenario, things don't work out and remain as they are(not counting deaths here since that's always a possibility with these and NASA as well as the Russians have had their fair share.

Worst case scenario is actually: they mount weapons on space stations (nuclear, most likely) and start an arms race that ends in all out war. But the aggressive expansionist Chinese government surely wouldn't do anything like that. It's not like they expanded their military budget by 12% last year [wikipedia.org] or anything.

Unlikely? Maybe. Possible? Yes.

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (5, Insightful)

sabernet (751826) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535142)

a) Repeat after me: China will NOT shoot at the US any time soon. The two nations are connected at the hip economically. They'll continue to play games with each other, for sure. there will be some sabotage, some espionage, some tensions, but China and the USA have the dollar bill version of Mutually Assured Destruction.
b) Both the Russians AND the USA have weapons in space regardless of treaties. How's that World War with Russia going?
c) How much did the USA expand their military budget last year? Or the year before that? Or before that? Heck, when's the last time it DIDN'T? How did that affect the ability of the last space race to allow a man to walk around on the moon?
d) Doesn't the tinfoil hat itch?
e) Given current sentiments(as demonstrated by your post) and the fact that the USA owes all the money, it's technically more likely the USA would act first. but again, see point a) for why this won't happen any time soon.

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535470)

Both the Russians AND the USA have weapons in space regardless of treaties.

Whoa whoa whoa, what? What weapons do the Russians and the U.S. have in space?

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (2, Funny)

drnb (2434720) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535528)

Both the Russians AND the USA have weapons in space regardless of treaties.

Whoa whoa whoa, what? What weapons do the Russians and the U.S. have in space?

A fixed blade knife in a survival kit maybe?

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (2)

ogdenk (712300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535826)

Umm.... a long time ago they apparently had 23mm cannons on space stations..... tested them successfully as well. Would likely have been able to shred an Apollo capsule quite nicely. Or the later Space Shuttle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salyut#Salyut_3 [wikipedia.org]

Salyut 3
OPS-2 (Salyut 3)
Main article: Salyut 3

Salyut 3 (OPS-2) (Russian: -3; English: Salute 3) was launched on June 25, 1974. It was another Almaz military space station, this one launched successfully. It tested a wide variety of reconnaissance sensors, returning a canister of film for analysis. On January 24, 1975, after the station had been ordered to deorbit, trials of the on-board 23 mm Nudelman aircraft cannon (other sources say it was a Nudelman NR-30 30 mm gun) were conducted with positive results at ranges from 3000 m to 500 m.[1] Cosmonauts have confirmed that a target satellite was destroyed in the test. The next day, the station was ordered to deorbit. Only one of the three intended crews successfully boarded and crewed the station, brought by Soyuz 14; Soyuz 15 attempted to bring a second crew but failed to dock. Nevertheless, it was an overall success. The station's orbit decayed, and it re-entered the atmosphere on January 24, 1975.

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535642)

http://www.thespacereview.com/article/826/1 [thespacereview.com]

i think there was one USSR spacecraft that may have been designed to carry weapons, but i think it failed during takeoff and i'm not sure it actually carried any weapons. unfortunately i couldn't find a website that mentions it.

one country stationing nukes in space would be a sure fire way to trigger global space race though. too bad science would take a back seat

Chine needs the USA less and less as time goes on (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536782)

Your point (a) is changing with time.

As time moves forward, China becomes less dependent on trade with the USA BUT the USA becomes more dependent on China.

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (2)

Teancum (67324) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536874)

I don't buy the economic arguments. Here is some food for thought:

In the year 1938, who was the largest importer of goods from Germany? Would you believe France? #2 was Russia and #3 was Britain.

And in the same time period, who was Japan's largest trading partner? America, followed by China.

Yeah, all of those economic ties did a whole lot of good in terms of convincing the leaders of Germany and Japan to not bomb and destroy their leading customers.

If a country will go to war, they will have their reasons for doing that which has absolutely no relevance as to what economic ties may exist. Still, in regards to China, I think they are more likely to get involved in a conflict with India than to deal with America. At least they share a common border with India (even if it isn't all that large).

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535260)

Are you kidding me??? The only expansionist and aggressive government on this planet is the USA! And so what if China is expanding their military budget by 12%? It is still nowhere near what US is spending. USA is spending more on their military budget than all others combined!

Which is more worrying? The country that spend the most on offensive military and has a history of attacking where ever they please, OR a large country concerned with building their economy and with no interest in attacking anyone, least pf all the US!

What is worrying is that the US will mount weapons (if they haven't already) on the satellites as a "preventive" measure for it surely is not acceptable that anyone else is allowed to do that... and then act all indignant when China/Russia do the same....

Re:What the hell is wrong with you? (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535184)

Maybe if China has some success, that success will be "transferred" to the USA in much the way China has transferred western technology to itself. In other words, everyone wins but the person in the pissing contest.

Sure they will - Bwahahahahahahaha (-1, Troll)

VonSkippy (892467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535108)

Lets see, China will announce their pie-in-the-sky space dreams years in advance, but won't show a single minute of their current space program in realtime.

The only thing China has mastered is stealing (or buying when necessary) other peoples designs and IP and then making cheap knockoffs in a attempt to show their citizens that China is a "player" in modern technology.

Where's their Saturn probe, or Martian robots, or Mercury explorer or Pluto flyby? Where's their space station?

They put a few dinky probes to the moon, and a few 1980's tech low earth orbit test ships and want the world to be impressed.

Lets see what happens if they ever actually expand the human races knowledge of space exploration, then they can brag how great they are to the world.

Until then they can steal Star Trek's slogan and say "To boldly go where numerous men have gone before".

Hmm (0, Troll)

lightknight (213164) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535228)

You know, it does occur to me that part of the reason they are releasing this information is as a ruse. They know the American economy is in a bad spot, and they are also aware that Americans are disastrously bad at math. So, we demand improvements / money allocated to a space program to chase after a phantom or exaggerated threat, and we blow up our economy in the process. It would be something like what happened to Russia with Reagan and the SDI program, with the US playing the part of Russia in this contrived scenario (why not, we've been implementing sooooo many of the USSR's failed policies lately, one more can't sink this ship!). .

And our Congressmen appear stupid enough to totally go for it. It's a jobs program, right? And we own our currency printing press, right? If it's a disaster, we can just inflate away the damage, like Russia did with the Ruble.

Re:Hmm (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535864)

The first problem with your scenario is that you are so disconnected from reality that you fail to understand that most Americans just don't give a flying fuck about space - and that includes Congress.

The second problem is that you fail to comprehend that the amount of money required isn't a drop in the bucket, it's the evaporation off a drop in the bucket.

Your scenario isn't so much 'contrived' as it is 'a drug addled hallucination'.

SDI (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536306)

Mod up!

Excellent! I was about to suggest the same. The Reagan SDI scam was a beautiful killer. There are more costly scams around. The hunt for peace in the Middle East is another example. It would surprise me if the US troop's presence in that area has created more badwill than goodwill.

What a joke (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535408)

"China always adheres to the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, and opposes weaponization or any arms race in outer space," Thursday's white paper states.

And yet, ppl will ignore the fact that this SAME PEACEFUL SPACE PROGRAM shot a sat out of the sky.

But even this article missed some interesting points by China. The Chinese government on Thursday (Dec. 29) issued a broad statement on its five-year space program, saying top priorities include developing three new launch vehicles — including a rapid-response launch system — [space.com]
Basically, they want their civilian launch system to be able to launch on short notice. The west's DOD units want that as well. But none of the civilians systems make that a priority.

Re:What a joke (1)

ogdenk (712300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535950)

I could have sworn I watched a similar test of an American anti-satellite system when I was a kid on TV..... and I was right.... back in the 80's we shot down a satellite or two. Launched from an F-15. Stop treating people like barbarians for developing the same tech we love and enjoy because we won't sell it to them. And if we did, it would have a remote kill switch. Not that I want to live in China... but just sayin... they have rights too and that includes developing tech that is equal to or better than ours to defend their homeland and their interests just like we do. I'm not a big fan of communism but apparently a lot of them are pretty ok with it and they can be governed however they wish. If we didn't like the current regime we could have helped the RoC out. We have no qualms interfering in other nations these days.... you know.... ones smaller than us....with no nukes....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-satellite_weapon#US_programs [wikipedia.org]

Their space program is funded from the same pot as their defense. Big deal. The Air Force kept NASA at arms length as well, it was just less official.

Re:What a joke (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536772)

Ours was done during the cold war. China supposedly has no cold war. In addition, we picked one that was low enough (345 miles) AND SMALL so that minimal parts. In fact, the sat parts are already cleared out of there. In 2002, there were only 2 known pieces left and they came down already. And this was because USSR had spent 30 years developing their IS system (apparently starting in the 50's). They took out a number of satellites, though it is unknown exactly how many. In fact, USSR had a full blown production military system designed to take out larger number of sats and esp. the shuttle. But that was the cold war.

China's target was monstrous large and high (550 miles). It was bigger than all of the previous sats put together (well, the ones known). China's ASAT will have 60-90% of its mass in space in 100 years. [celestrak.com] As it is, USSRs multiple targets and USA's single target (excluding the malfunctioning sat that was taken out close to the edge of space) are no longer in space.

And no, their space program is NOT just 'funded' from the same pot as their defense. Their space program is 100% part of their PLA. It answers directly to their military structure, not their president or even their party. Their is no arms length between PLA and CNSA. [wikipedia.org] That is the reason why CNSA is developing quick response rockets. USSR's space program was arm lengths between military and space program, but USA's was totally 100% separate systems from USAF. Like USSR's, it did some items for USAF, but that was in the cold war. China is not supposed to be in a cold war with the west. Or have they formally declared it?

BTW, I agree with your criticism of our nation as far as interfering in other nations. We should not be doing that. We had zero business getting involved in Iraq, Libya, and now iran. As it is, the only nation that we had any business getting into was afghanistan. And W should have completed that before deciding to screw up so many other places. We really are too deep into messing with other nations rather than paying attention to our own business (reminds me of the USSR before its collapse).

Bah China (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535692)

I'm as "Who cares about China" as the next /. poster, but I think it's a waste of money for China to put anything in space that isn't a domestic satellite. A few reasons:

a) Reinventing the wheel, given they can't steal American or Russian IP if they aren't involved with American or Russian space programs, just proves that China steals more IP and really doesn't know how to invent. This is the only field where they have to put their own research money and people on the line. Maybe they'll do it right for once.
b) Even Russia and the Americans were making reusable launch orbiters at the same time, The Russians didn't use theirs due to cost ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuttle_Buran_program ) and collapse of the USSR.
c) The Americans and the Russians have done the "Satellite, Moon Landing, have something survive to Mars" already. If China wants to impress the world, they need to do something different.

Suggestions:
- If they build a space station, they should build it from the beginning as a tourism target for reusable launch orbiters. The hard part is figuring out how to get people to it safely, something China has a terrible track record with.
- Land and build a "base" on the Moon, like the space station point, if they could make it a tourism target, that would win, but safety matters here too. Nobody has put a permanent settlement on the moon yet.
- The next target would be permanent settlement on Mars, but I don't see this happening within my lifetime, primarily since we have yet to establish that Mars is safe to land on (given all the other failed Mars missions.)

Not much else is interesting that hasn't been done that doesn't require some kind of FTL travel.

You know what else they'll catch up to? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38535808)

They'll conclude the same things we (well, the West and Russia) did decades ago. Manned space is a waste. It's a show, a stunt, nothing more. China is just going through the "due diligence" of becoming the next world power. Geeks need to settle down, physics and engineering won't be different in Cantonese. There won't be orbital colonies, offices on the Moon, bungalows on Mars or Wal Marts on Jupiter.

It'll be the same cramped tin can with not very much useful going on. Sure, many papers will be published, a few billionaires will get their equivalent of a "billionaire merit badge" to show off to their millionaire friends.

Get over it, geeks. China is re-living our past. Let them. The future is all about energy, adapting to our new expensive-energy future (you don't think we'll ever see the Concorde again, do you?). It's also about bio-tech and the thousands of little things we'll be discovering about biology.

Space? It's dead. It's nothing but a cargo cult now.

What is "space technology"? (3, Interesting)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38535954)

China's space program has already made major breakthroughs in a relatively short time, although it lags far behind the United States and Russia in space technology and experience.

Other than the considerations of zero gravity environmental safety, radiation protection, and atmospheric preservation, I can't think of anything special about "space technology." Sound engineering practices and safety standards come from long established research and experience and are applied to space exploration by NASA and others.

It seems trite, but even rocket science isn't rocket science any more. The nations have shared too much data and information for anyone to really be starting from scratch.

China has some pretty aggressive schedules tabled. It's interesting how much more can be done by a government which supports a space program than one that lets the bean counters cut such budgets. But it's not surprising -- China has repeatedly demonstrated a willingness to tackle huge long term projects that would never even get approved in the US or Canada over the bleating of NIMBYs and environmentalists.

It's a subtle difference, but Chinese society has always emphasized the importance of the nation over the rights of an individual. I realize it's shocking to North Americans, but the Chinese immigrants and exchange workers I've talked with over the years think it's a good idea for the government to restrict the activities of protesters to quell dissent and social unrest. Most seem to consider it an honour to make a personal sacrifice in support of a big government program, rather than doing their best to stop the government from proceeding because it would inconvenience them.

Re:What is "space technology"? (2)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536484)

there are a few notable differences between terrestrial and space tech; one being that most of the time is has one chance to work and one only. with such a low frequency and high cost of launches, there is no room for infant mortality or MTBF data or consumer grade crapware. its a good industry for QA people to refine their knowledge. as with aviation, everything is MIL spec (or equivalent) and traceable back to the billet of origin material, with dozens of inspections at various levels. its also an industry that demands the highest performance-to-weight ratio. in the good old days (before the financial black hole space programs of today) plastics and microchips were technologies that came about due to the needs of space programs, and what starts out as space-tech can find its way into everyday life such that it loses its "space-techiness". the Lexan cutlery you can get now started life in the helmets of the astronauts that walked on the moon for instance.

there are technologies in waiting for the next generation of space programs. aerospikes, aerogels, nanotubes, biosteel/silk, etc.

when the world wakes up and realizes that corporations and governments will never have the money to tinker in space with anything more than flying washing machines, and that non-profit cooperation is essential for large-scale colonization, these technologies will go to space and new ones will join them as new challenges are met and overcome. the problem with today's space programs is that they aren't really coming across technological challenges that haven't already been solved. there are a lot of studies of effects of long term microgravity environment on the human body to justify the cost of the ISS, but even much of this stuff was already studied on Mir.

the real challenges like cheap, safe, reliable and regular access to low earth orbit (the true enabler of space colonization) is being tossed into the too hard basket (especially with the economic failure of the X-33), but when someone finds the answer, you can bet that patents, copyright and a even a healthy head start won't save them from the corporate copycats. just don't be stupid enough to buy tickets on the first 100,000 rides in a corporate-sponsored SSTO space shuttle.

putting a man on the moon was an awesome achievement, but the challenge there that will require development of new technologies will be mining and smelting ore to create structural materials that can be used in lagrange point space stations. aluminium cans and inflatables aren't going to be enough to permit large-scale colonization.

Re:What is "space technology"? (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536514)

I think you overestimate how special NASA technology is. The same high-quality "must not fail" principles have applied to the entire aerospace industry for decades, particularly for any company working on missile and aircraft technologies.

The only thing "special" about a mil-spec part is that it's tested to tighter tolerances than the regular commercial product. It's not inherently more reliable or produced by a different manufacturing process -- it's just been tested more stringently before being shipped to the customer.

Re:What is "space technology"? (5, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536528)

Here's a "mil-spec" tidbit for you. Back with my first job at SED Systems in Saskatoon, SK fresh out of university two weeks before I started with them, I was assigned to work on a project delivering to the Canadian military.

We failed a mil-spec inspection because some valves we were shipped were the commercial versions. The difference between the mil-spec and commercial versions? mil-spec meant they were spray painted Canadian military olive green; the commercial version was spray painted black.

We took out the valves, spray painted them green, and put them back. We passed the next inspection.

You wouldn't believe how much extra the company charged to spray paint the valves green instead of black.

Re:What is "space technology"? (2)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536696)

the difference between commercial & mil spec has nothing to do with the paint color; it's the guarantee you supply with your product. if your valves caused an accident and you were caught out, you're in deeper shit than if you were making valves for commercial applications. indemnity insurance won't cover you for criminal negligence.

if the mil spec valves were painted a different color to indicate a certain material used or to indicate certification for use in certain temperature range, and the commercial versions you spray painted don't meet the same standards, then both you and the inspector who passed them wanna make sure you have good lawyers if something fucks up as a result. mil specification involves a paper trail that doesn't come with commercial products, so even if the only difference was the color, just spray painting a commercial item to look like a mil spec item isn't usually enough to make it mil spec.

thank goodness i don't fly with the canadian military

Re:What is "space technology"? (1)

crutchy (1949900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536766)

mil specs have been around a long time, but a lot of mil specs were developed or at least refined as a result of space programs, so you can at least thank NASA for providing impetus and raw data for some of the quality standards that go into modern aviation. just have a look at the amendment histories of FARs 23 and 25 and see how they have changed. standards for new material grades, dynamic response, electronics interference, lightning protection, etc. have been influenced by space programs of mid last century.

mil specs are more than tolerances and material data based on so many tests. its an entire quality system and a papertrail of accountability. manufacturing processes may not vary much, but the supplier of mil spec parts will be required to purchase higher quality manufacturing equipment and use more highly skilled labor than a supplier of commercial quality parts (merely to meet the tolerance requirements without a crippling amount of waste). even civilian standards and regulations are being influenced more and more by mil specs, so much so that for an equivalent application, a mil spec part would probably be accepted as complying with the requirements of any other standard around the world.

mil specs are the only reason why people feel safe flying on commercial jets

Whomever controls space, controls it all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536100)

Hopefully this will kickstart some manned space exploration, but I fear that it will be too late.
Whomever controls space, controls it all.

Lovely. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536130)

China's plans through 2016: Dropping failed launches and tonnes of space junk from fucked-up missions onto random countries, blame the U.S. for it.

With China it's always big plans and intentions (1)

satuon (1822492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38536654)

It's always plans of what China will do after 10 years, 20 years, 100 years. China seems a lot bigger on plans and intentions than on things it's doing right now. It's like the hunter bragging how much game he's going to kill, or a fisherman saying he'll catch the entire lake. Well, I say why don't we wait untill after you've come back and see what you've got. Let's not put the oil in the frying pan while the bird's still in the forest.

Why so reluctant? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536678)

That the program is run by the military has made the U.S. reluctant to cooperate with China in space, even though the latter insists its program is purely for peaceful ends.

Aren't it Americans who coined the phrase "peace through superior firepower"?

Tsien (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38536860)

So when do they plan to go to Europa?

(2010 the book, not the movie)

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...