[FPSPACE] China reveals space plans through 2016 (the five year plan)

Chris Jones clj at panix.com
Thu Dec 29 11:36:40 EST 2011


On Thu, 29 Dec 2011 10:28:54 -0500 "Peter Pesavento" <pjp961 at svol.net> wrote:

> Associated Press, via Yahoo
[...]
> http://news.yahoo.com/china-reveals-space-plans-2016-095936319.html
[...]
> China's space program has already made major breakthroughs in a relatively
> short time, although it lags far behind the United States and Russia in
> space technology and experience.

China has made good progress, but I question the "relatively short time" part
of this quote.  Relative to what?  Certainly not the comparable progress the
Soviet Union and the United States made to accomplish the same things years ago.

[...]
> In 2003, China became the third country behind the U.S. and Russia to launch
> a man into space and, five years later, completed a spacewalk. Toward the
> end of this year, it demonstrated automated docking between its Shenzhou 8
> craft and the Tiangong 1 module, which will form part of a future space
> laboratory.

It took both the USSR and the USA less than 4 years from their first human
spaceflight to their first space walk.  The USSR's first docking (which was
automated) took place 6 years after their first human spaceflight.  The US's
first docking (which was manual) took place less than 5 years after their first
human spaceflight.

The pace of China's space program looks even more leisurely when measured from
the launch of their first satellite.  It was 33 years from that milestone to
their first human spaceflight, while the USSR and USA each took a little over 3
years.

None of this is a criticism of the Chinese, just questioning the wording of
the reporting.



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