New China manned vehicle under development

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The competition heats up: China has begun development of two versions of a second generation manned capsule.

Instead of the three-module arrangement of the current Shenzhou vehicle, the future Chinese crew vehicle will adopt a two-module arrangement, with a large inhabitable crew module at the front, and an uninhabitable cylindrical-shaped service module at back. The size of the re-entry vehicle will be twice of Shenzhou’s, capable of accommodating up to six crew members. A docking port and its associated docking sensors are fitted to the front-end of the crew module. The spacecraft can be fitted with two different service modules, with different propulsion systems and propellant capacities.

In other words, rather than copy and upgrade the design of the Russian Soyuz, as they did with their Shenzhou capsule, they will copy and upgrade the American Apollo capsule.


  • Steve

    Heh. I read that and was like, that sounds vaguely familiar.

    Of course, theirs will probably be done and to the moon and back before Orion makes another flight. :/

  • Matt in AZ

    On the upside, Dragon could very well be to the moon and back before either vehicle.

  • orion314

    Maybe we could get the Chicoms to build our Orion for us, since ours will probably never fly.????

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