Behind The Black Postings By Robert Zimmerman

An update on the Chinese manned program.

The original script called for [the space station] Tiangong 1 to be followed by Tiangong 2, which would have been a module of the same basic design as Tiangong 1. Tiangong 2 was expected to have tested more advanced life-support systems than Tiangong 1, but there would be no major changes to the spacecraft. It was expected that two or three crews would be launched to this module.

Towards the end of the decade, China would then launch Tiangong 3, which was slated to be an entirely different class of spacecraft. It would be larger and more capable. Tiangong 3 was expected by some analysts to be a precursor to the types of modules to be used in China’s future space station, slated for launch around 2020.

According to Yang’s presentation, we can forget about Tiangong 2. Or at least, we can forget about Tiangong 2 as it was originally planned. China still plans to launch a mission with this name, but it would seem that the large laboratory module originally known as “Tiangong 3″ has now been designated as the new Tiangong 2.

In other words, China is accelerating the admittedly slow pace of their manned program.

1 Comment
  1. wodun says:

    Is it a slow pace? As compared to what?

    China has been making steady progress and each time they achieve something in space it comes as a surprise to the people claiming they are incapable. These same people usually say that any comment about how well China is doing in relation to an effort to get our own space rogram back on track, is nothing but red scare fear mongering about a country 50 years behind us. As if what we did 50 years ago has any bearing on what we do tomorrow.

    From autonomos docking to anti-satelite programs, China continues to prove more capable than given credit for.

    Space isn’t a race, it’s a marathon. Any activity takes a significant number of years in plannig, construction, and travel time. The ammount of time required is far more than alomost every other human endevor for government, business, or anything else. The Chinese seem to recognize this if the naming of their Long March launches is representative of their philosophy.

    It is good we have some competition maybe it will cause us to get our act together. We cannot be dismissive or complaceant.

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