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China successfully launches three astronauts to its space station

Launch of Shenzhou

The new colonial movement: China today successfully used its Long March 2F rocket to place three astronauts into orbit to begin a six month mission to that country’s new space station.

The image to the right is a screen capture from the live stream, mere seconds after launch.

It appeared to me that the rocket’s first stage might have had grid fins to control its reentry, but I am not certain. Either way both it and the four strap-on boosters will crash in China.

The Shenzhou capsule will dock with the station in a few hours.

The leaders in the 2021 launch race:

36 China
23 SpaceX
17 Russia
4 Northrop Grumman

China has now moved ahead of the U.S. in the national rankings, 36 to 35.

Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs."--San Antonio Express-News


  • Jay

    Anyone notice during the liftoff all those panels flying off? I hope those were not the grid fins!

  • Mark

    Since China has now moved ahead of the US 36 launches to 35, I am going to repeat my post from earlier today:
    If you dug deep into the bowels of the CCP, I bet you would find a ‘Department of National Pride’. This department probably churns out a few high profile policy papers for the Communist stalwarts on the 205 person Central Committee.
    One policy of national pride that was on display last summer was the race for gold medals at the Olympics. The US just edged out China in gold medals 39 to 38, and it could have gone either way.
    Bob’s Post tells us that the U.S. and China are now tied at 35 successful launches.
    I’m betting that the Chinese already have a plan for 2021 to have the most launches by the end of the year. Along with their Martian rover (based on theft of design & IP of US past rovers), Chinese Space accomplishments in 2021 should provide quite a propaganda victory that the Communists can use to help the world forget about that biological weapon unleashed against the world in 2019.

  • Mark: You might want to take a gander at my last annual launch report, posted at the start of this year. It will give you some context on what is happening now.

  • Jeff Wright

    They mean business…

  • James Street

    “That’s no moon. It’s a godless commie space station.”

  • Mark

    That’s a good assignment from Bob, and I will add it to my weekend reading list.
    Just curious – Is 2,157 words your longest post? :)

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