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posted by janrinok on Thursday June 10, @05:24PM   Printer-friendly

Rocket in place to send 3 crew to Chinese space station:

The rocket that will send three crew members to start living on China's new orbiting space station has been moved onto the launch pad ahead of its planned blastoff next week. The three astronauts plan to spend three months on the space station doing spacewalks, construction and maintenance work and science experiments.

The main section of the Tianhe, or Heavenly Harmony, station was launched into orbit on April 29, and a cargo spacecraft sent up last month carried fuel, food and equipment to the station in preparation for the crewed mission.

The Long March-2F Y12 rocket carrying the Shenzhou-12 spaceship was transferred to the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China on Wednesday, the China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a brief statement.

The space agency plans a total of 11 launches through the end of next year to deliver two laboratory modules to expand the 70-ton station, along with supplies and crew members. Next week's launch will be the third of those, and the first of the four crewed missions planned.

[...] China said in March the astronauts training for the upcoming crewed missions were a mix of space travel veterans and newcomers and included some women. The first station crew will be all male, though women will be part of future crews, according to Yang Liwei, who orbited Earth in China's first crewed mission in 2003 and is now an official at the space agency.

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @02:27PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 11, @02:27PM (#1144247)

    Sure, that's a fair point. But I think it deserves some further discussion. Our "private capability" is really just a euphemism. There is SpaceX and then a handful of companies that vary only in their degree of fail. And while SpaceX has achieved absolutely amazing things, I do not believe they alone can compete against a superpower who is looking increasingly focused on space. And I'm not sure how long effective public-private can really work. The recent Artemis contracts exemplify this point.

    NASA picked SpaceX for their next mission to the moon, which makes all the sense in the world because SpaceX is currently leagues ahead of any other company. However, Jeff Bezos' wanted to be picked. And he owns senators. So he buttered a few bellies and the next thing you know congress is changing all the rules and passing new laws so Bezos can also "win." Bezos being the owner of Blue Origin - an aerospace company that has existed for more than 21 years and has yet to manage to put even a single object into orbit clearly deserved a contract to put something on the Moon.

    So our future (given the current political status quo) is looking to increasingly be SpaceX vs China. And I simply do not think that SpaceX will be able to compete against the effectively endless funding a superpower can provide. To say nothing of what happens when somebody dies, which will happen sooner or later as we start sending more and more people into space. For SpaceX it will be a months long investigation, endless media skepticism/clickbaiting against space, large bureaucratic panels which may likely end up having congressmen owned by people like Bezos on board (trying as hard as they can to ground SpaceX), and more. For China? They'll give some medals and honors, maybe toss up a memorial, declare them national heroes, and keep right on schedule for next week's launch.

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