[FPSPACE] Docking problems reported on first Shenzhou/Tiangong mission

JBC Gmail jbcharle at gmail.com
Tue Mar 5 08:47:30 EST 2013


Not to challenge Mr. Chesson's credibility or bona fides, but are there other sources which confirm his statements? I always wonder if reports that a capsule was built too light to dock or too fragile to survive docking (or too heavy to launch, in the case of Orion) haven't somehow been oversimplified. 

Maybe it is just my recent immersion in the writings of Martin Caidin, but Mr. Chesson's comments as quoted in SciAm sound more "film noir-ish" than I expect from an ESA human spaceflight advisor. 

John Charles

Sent from my iPad

On Mar 5, 2013, at 7:28, "James Oberg" <jameseoberg at comcast.net> wrote:

> Here:
> http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=europe-may-work-with-china
> An unmanned Shenzhou spacecraft docked with Tiangong-1 for the first time in November 2011, and the docking mechanism didn't work exactly as planned, some say.
>  "It was originally bouncing off," Bob Chesson, an ESA human spaceflight advisor, told SPACE.com. "Essentially they have to ram this [Shenzhou] thing in and they are very worried that if you assemble a station like that, you basically will have all sorts of structure fracture mechanics problems, that type of thing."
> The Shenzhou spacecraft is not heavy enough to activate the APAS docking system correctly, Chesson said, so it had to be rammed forcefully to make a connection.
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