Tag Archives: manned spaceflight

The Chinese astronauts have undocked from the Tiengong-1 space station and will return to Earth tomorrow.

The Chinese astronauts have undocked from the Tiengong-1 space station and will return to Earth tomorrow.

Following a separation from the Tiangong-1 at 7:05 a.m. Beijing Time, the manned Shenzhou-10 moved back to a point from where the spacecraft changed its orbit and flew around the target module. Under the command of ground-based professionals, Shenzhou-10 adjusted its flight gesture at a point behind Tiangong-1, and approached and rendezvoused with the target module.

The fly-around and rendezvous was apparently controlled by ground controllers, not the astronauts on board.

Boeing and the fear of competition

Boeing has indicated that it might shelve its CST-100 manned capsule, despite their recent almost half a billion dollar contract award from NASA.

This possibility illustrates why Boeing is losing market share, not only in space, but in the aviation industry. The article suggests that the NASA contract might not be enough to pay for CST-100, and that Boeing is unsure there is enough private market to make up the difference.

“That’s just for the ISS. That’s kind of the basement,” adds Elbon. More flights than those to the ISS are required he says, and Boeing is cautious about over-committing itself while future revenue streams are unclear.

I say bull hockey.
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ATK today announced that it is building its own manned capsule for its Liberty solid rocket.

The competition continues to heat up: ATK today announced that it is building its own manned capsule for its Liberty launch system.

The capsule’s first two flights are scheduled in 2014, both abort tests, followed in 2015 by an orbital flight and, finally, a crewed orbital flight. The spacecraft is designed for ten flights each, and ATK plans to build a minimum of four capsules. All flights will be launched by the Liberty launcher, and ATK is not actively exploring adapting the capsule for other [launch vehicles].

Liberty is based on the upgraded shuttle solid rocket boosters that were developed for the Ares rocket, now cancelled.

Research on ISS has found that prolonged spaceflight causes vision problems and might even damage the human eye.

Research on ISS has found that prolonged spaceflight causes vision problems and might even damage the human eye.

There had been hints of this discovery in an earlier report, but today’s paper is the first published science on the subject.

The results are not only important for finding out the medical challenges of weightlessness. They illustrate once again the need to do long extended flights on ISS. Without that research we are never going to be able to fly humans to other planets.

China’s next launch of its Shenzhou capsule will be manned

China’s next launch of its Shenzhou capsule this summer will be manned.

It seems those rumors weren’t true. Or maybe they were.

Just like in the 1960s with the Soviet Union, the only way to find out what exactly is going on in the Chinese space program is to wait for something to actually happen.

It looks like there will be no manned Soyuz missions launched from South America.

It looks like there will be no manned Soyuz missions launched from South America.

An ESA study conducted between 2002 and 2004 found that because the Soyuz has not been designed to land in the sea, a French Guiana launch that had to be aborted would endanger the spacecraft and its crew as it would likely have to ditch in the Atlantic Ocean. The Soyuz spacecraft have always landed on land in the former Soviet territory of Kazakhstan.

Soyuz rocket successfully launches three astronauts into orbit

A Soyuz rocket has successfully launched three astronauts into orbit.

This is the first manned launch since the shuttles were retired, and the first Russian manned mission since the failure of a Soyuz rocket in August. If all goes well, the astronauts will dock with ISS in two days.

Europe and Russia talk of joint manned mission to Mars

Europe and Russia talk of joint manned mission to Mars.

I’m not sure how seriously to take this story, though its implications are intriguing regardless. More than any other country, Russia knows how to build the kind of spaceship necessary for the journey. What Europe will contribute more than anything else would be money.

American manned space: dependent on the Russians in more ways than you think

American manned space: dependent on the Russians in more ways than you think.

As commentators from around the country gnash their teeth at U.S. dependence upon Russia to move cargo and astronauts to the mostly U.S. built/funded International Space Station (ISS), they’ve missed the bigger boat: With one exception, all the commercial spaceflight offerings currently in the works have Soviet or Russian engines as a key part of the rockets involved.

According to Russian space officials, the next Soyuz tourist flight will be in 2014

According to Russian space officials today, the next Soyuz tourist flight to ISS will be in 2014.

The article above contradicts yesterday’s story where the head of the Russian space agency suggested that Russia is going to shift its focus from manned space. I suspect both stories reflect an underlying political battle going on within the Russian government.

Cosmonaut Titov becomes the first man to fly in space more than 24 hours

An evening pause: Fifty years ago today Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Titov became the second Russian to fly in space, and the first to stay in orbit more than one day. During his seventeen orbit flight he also was the first human to experience space sickness and to sleep in space.

The newsreel below is somewhat comical, as the Soviets were not very forthcoming with information. To provide visuals the newsreel used film footage showing a V2 rocket from World War II, as well as a very unrealistic globe with an equally unrealistic spacecraft to “demonstrate the course of an orbit around the earth.”

Nonetheless, because the newsreel is of that time, it illustrates well the fear the west had of the Soviet’s success in space. For a communist nation to be so far ahead of the U.S., which so far had only flown two suborbital flights, was a challenge to the free world that could not stand.

A good summary of the present American manned space situation

Clark Lindsey has put together a very succinct but thorough summary of the present and future state of American manned space.

The bottom line is that the U.S. can easily have multiple rockets and spaceships to put people into space, in only a few short years, if only our government will get out of the way.

China launched second data relay satellite, expanding space communications network before first docking attempt

On Monday China successfully launched its second data relay satellite, expanding its space communications network in preparation for before its first unmanned rendezvous and docking attempt later this year.