Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Chinese Experimental Space Station Module Delayed to Next Year?

China has postponed the next step in its ambitious space station programme until 2011 for technical reasons, state media said Wednesday.

China had originally planned to place the Tiangong-1 space module in orbit late this year and undertake experimental docking manoeuvres in subsequent missions, Xinhua news agency cited rocket designer Qi Faren as saying.

But the initial launch has now been delayed by a year due to "technical reasons", Qi said, without elaborating.

Qi was speaking to the media on the sidelines of a meeting of a legislative advisory body, which convened on Wednesday, two days before the start of the annual session of China's rubber-stamp parliament.

China became the third nation to put a man in space when Yang Liwei piloted the one-man Shenzhou-5 space mission in 2003.

In September 2008, the Shenzhou-7, piloted by three "taikonauts" or astronauts, carried out China's first space walk.

The Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace," is seen as the building block of China's maiden space station.

Weighing about 8.5 tonnes, it would provide a "safe room" for Chinese astronauts to live in and conduct research in zero gravity.

After being placed in orbit, the Tiangong-1 would dock with the unmanned Shenzhou-8 spacecraft in the country's first space docking -- a feat to be controlled remotely by scientists on the ground.

Qi said Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10, carrying two to three astronauts, would also dock with the orbiting module in successive years.

He said other key technologies being worked on in the space station programme include the replenishment of propellant, air, water and food for the space module as well as a life support system.

no time.


Jeff Lewis said...


I found your blog last night and have really enjoyed reading it. I come from the software side of things and also have scientific interests so it was nice to read about some of your parallel but different interests. My daughter is now 20. Your descriptions of your daughter brought a smile as it took me back many pleasant years.


Will Baird said...

Thank you, Jeff.

Welcome to my moderate readership. Your commentary is always welcome.

My daughter is a joy. As is my new son. I'm looking forward to seeing how they grow into adults and seeing what they contribute to the world. :)

Jeff Lewis said...


I read a book a few years ago titled "Out of thin air" that chronicled the development of new species compared to oxygen levels. It's an interesting approach to explaining some of the diverse metabolic strategies we see today.

As an electrical engineering student in the eighties, I fully expected to relocate to Southern California. It didn't happen and I can see now as an adult it would not have worked for me. But I sure miss the opportunity to be a part of a scientific culture. These days health care occupies my energy and imagination. Physics is my next destination if I live long enough.

I'm not sure if this link will be allowed to post, but it has a most precious picture of me with my son several years ago. He's now two inches taller than me. But this picture was taken in a time when dads had no flaws. I think you will see what I mean.

Okay, you hooked me as a reader. Where to now, El Capitan?