Tag Archives: Shenzhou

China’s next manned mission

The competition heats up: The next Chinese manned mission will occur in the fall of 2016 and will have the astronauts remain in space for 30 days on a new space station launched during the summer.

After the astronauts have completed their flight, China will then launch their first unmanned cargo craft, dubbed Tianzhou-1, to dock with the station, using a new medium-lift rocket, Long March 7, which will get its first test flight this coming June.


New China manned vehicle under development

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.


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.


The decision by China to launch their next Shenzhou manned capsule unnamed has made at least one China space expert worried.

The decision by China to launch their next Shenzhou manned capsule unmanned has made at least one China space expert worried.

Why the sudden change? It seems clear that there must be technical issues at work, and they must be fairly serious. Statements in the Chinese media hint at performing tests on the small tunnel connecting the Shenzhou spacecraft to the Tiangong module after docking. If we decode the typically vague reportage, it seems fair to assume that there could be some sort of technical problem with the pressurization of this tunnel. This problem could have been exposed during the Shenzhou 8 docking.


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.