China: September 2008 Archives

Shenzhou 7 Lands

China's spacewalk astronauts return as heroes, Reuters

"Three Chinese astronauts landed safely back on earth on Sunday after a 68-hour voyage and space walk that showcased the country's technological mastery and were hailed as a major victory by its leaders. Their Shenzhou ("sacred vessel") spacecraft parachuted down to the steppes of northern Inner Mongolia region at dusk. Doctors rushed to open the capsule and check the men as they readjusted to gravity and recovered from the punishing re-entry."

Chinese Astronaut Completes EVA

Chinese Astronaut Makes Nation's First Spacewalk, NY Times

"A Chinese astronaut orbiting the earth slipped out of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft Saturday afternoon and performed the nation's first spacewalk, establishing another milestone in China's space program. Zhai Zhigang, a 41-year-old astronaut, pulled himself out of the orbiting module at 4:40 p.m. Beijing time, latched himself to a handrail, and then waved to a national audience during a live broadcast of the country's third manned space mission."


Video below

Curious Timing

Scientist accused of bribery, aiding China, Daily Press

"An internationally recognized scientist based at the Applied Research Center in Newport News has been arrested and charged with violating federal arms controls by illegally exporting launch data to help China's space program."

U.S. man charged with exporting space data to China, Reuters

"A physicist from Virginia was arrested on Wednesday on charges of illegally exporting space launch technical data and services to China and offering bribes to Chinese government officials, the Justice Department said."

Virginia Physicist Arrested for Illegally Exporting Space Launch Data to China and Offering Bribes to Chinese Officials, Department of Justice

Shenzhou-7 Launched

China's manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 blasts off on space walk mission, Xinhua

"China launched its third manned spacecraft on Thursday with three astronauts on board to attempt the country's first-ever space walk. The spaceship Shenzhou-7 blasted off on a Long March II-F carrier rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the northwestern Gansu Province at 9:10 p.m. after a breathtaking countdown to another milestone on China's space journey."

Shenzhou 7 Coverage, ChinaView

CNSA PAO Outperforms NASA PAO

Oops, article on China space launch jumps the gun

"An article describing China's long-awaited space mission was launched Thursday hours before astronauts even left the launch pad. The country's official news agency Xinhua posted an article on its Web site Thursday written as if the three astronauts had already been launched into space. The Xinhua article is dated Sept. 27 -- two days from now -- and comes complete with an entire dialogue between the astronauts."

Editor's note: NASA PAO often struggles to keep pace with events. But in China they have found a way to be days ahead of events. Can NASA PAO ever catch up with this latest Chinese accomplishment? Meanwhile, poor right wing Patti at the Examiner clearly has no sense of humor.

And Then There Were Three

Live video of launch (does not seem to work on Macs)

Space Inspires Passion And Practicality in China, Washington Post

"Space experts outside China are generally at a loss to describe how its various space programs -- manned and unmanned, civil and military -- are organized and overseen, except that the vast bulk of its efforts are under the direction of the People's Liberation Army. No official from China's space agencies or government-owned space companies would be interviewed for this article."

NASA wishes China success on launch of Shenzhou-7 mission, Xinhua

"NASA wishes China success on the launch of Shenzhou-7 and the safe return of its crew," a spokesman for the U.S. space agency told Xinhua on the eve of the mission. China has announced that the Shenzhou-7 spacecraft will lift off on Thursday night. This will be the third Chinese manned space mission, but the first time Chinese astronauts perform a spacewalk."

China's 1st Space Walk Mission a Step Toward the Moon?, National Geographic

"We intend to send astronauts to the moon and ultimately to build a lunar outpost," said Zhang Qingwei, who was until recently a leader of China's manned space program.

Editor's 12 Sep note: The organizers of this widely promoted event on 24 Sep. wherein Mike Griffin will be "addressing China's space program" asked me to remove mention of the Congressional Space Power Caucus Breakfast because "these events are limited to Members of Congress, their staff, other US Govt officials and representatives from companies that are either corporate supporters of the Space Foundation or NDIA. These events are not open to the public or media."

How can the NASA Administrator address such an important topic - to an exclusive, hand-picked audience - and have it be off the record? More importantly, how can the organizers schedule - or NASA PAO agree to allow Griffin to participate in - such an event one day before the expected launch of Shenzhou VII and expect no one to be allowed to report what Griffin thinks about China's space program?

Editor's 24 Sep Update: According to NASA AA for Legislative Affairs, Bill Bruner's twitter posting at 10:36 am EDT: "Just listened to NASA official talk about China building capability to exploit cislunar space -- while our lunar capability sits in museums."

Hmm, I wonder if this "NASA official" he is talking about is NASA Administrator Mike Griffin speaking at this morning's closed door breakfast briefing on China? Hmm, so is this the strategy, for NASA folks and other attendees to start being clever and "leaking" non-attributable commentary about "government officials" saying things off the record that they are afraid to say on the record? Gee, how Watergate of you, Bill.

Earlier posts:

Editor's note: This video " " ("Shenzhou seven simulation situations") about the upcoming Shenzhou 7 mission appeared on YouTube yesterday. Among other things it shows an animation of the EVA that will be performed. The EVA suits worn by the taikonauts in this video are clearly inspired by Russian Orlan suits.

China's Space Station

"God 10" launching space laboratory built (Google translation of article in Chinese)

"Ming Pao - the Jiuquan Satellite Launch CUI Ji-jun, director of the Center recently revealed that this year the launch of manned spacecraft "God 7", "God 8" and "God 9" will be unmanned spacecraft, "God 10" would be a set People spacecraft, launched after the craft and the docking target, after the completion of docking will create space laboratory."

Editor's note: "Shenzhou" translates as "God". This concept of a small modular space station is not exactly new. Astronautix.com features a photo of some sort of Chinese space station and a history of its development. It would seem that Shenzhou 7 will leave its free-flying Orbital Module in orbit as has been the case recent flights. Then, over the next several years, two unmanned Shenzhou flights 8 and 9 will be launched and will dock with the Shenzhou 7 orbital module. After that Shenzhou 10 will be launched with a crew and dock with the mini-space station. This would be a human-tended facility - not one with permanent inhabitants.

NASA's Star Is Fading, Its Chief Says, Washington Post

"The heavy OMB edits of Griffin's comments on China were made in March after Griffin appeared before the House Science and Technology Committee and was asked to supply additional information. A copy of Griffin's comments with the OMB's changes and deletions, obtained by The Washington Post, shows that the version ultimately sent to Congress lost much of Griffin's sense of urgency, including his assessment of what a Chinese moon landing would mean to perceptions about the United States. ... The senior NASA official said the deleted comments about China's space ambitions would have increased pressure on the administration to speed up and better fund construction of the new spacecraft."

Editor's note: Hmm, maybe that is why Griffin chose this exclusive off the record briefing on China for Congressional folks and those who pay hefty dues to trade organizations (see Mike Griffin's Exclusive Off The Record China Briefing). I wonder if OMB's Paul Shawcross (or one of his staff) will be there?

Why is the White House afraid to let Griffin speak publicly? Why is Griffin afraid/unable to do so? Oh yes, Griffin has often been told by the White House to stay out of the Washington Post, NY Times, etc. But wait: leaked memos, "senior NASA officials" speaking under conditions of anonymity? Hmm, that's the same inside the beltway code language and games that the White House usually uses to float trial balloons and instill a growing sense of dissent - while denying any active participation. Everyone is talking past everyone else. No one takes an open stance any more.

How much more dysfunctional can this whole situation become?

Shenzhou VII in Two Weeks?

China to launch third manned space flight in September: report, AFP

"China has brought forward the launch date of its third manned space flight to late September, a report said Tuesday. The launch of Shenzhou VII is now expected to take place between September 17 -- the end of the Beijing Paralympics -- and China's National Day on October 1, Hong Kong newspaper Wen Wei Po said, citing unnamed sources."


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This page is an archive of entries in the China category from September 2008.

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