[FPSPACE] Docking problems reported on first Shenzhou/Tiangongmission

Chen Lan chenlan63 at outlook.com
Tue Mar 5 09:31:34 EST 2013


I’m quite skeptical about this. I watched two unmanned Shenzhou 8 - Tiangong 1 dockings on TV live. No serious bouncing off observed. Was it covered by the Chinese? Not likely. Both dockings happened exactly at the time previously announced. There was no chance to hide a failed docking.

Just quess that Mr. Chesson may have misunderstood what the Chinese said. It seems that the Chinese APAS needs a larger impact force to complete a successful docking (than Soyuz docking, for example). It is also true that Shenzhou is not heavy enough to generate such an imapct force. That’s why Shenzhou needs to fire its engine just before docking. It results a faster contact velocity (20cm/s) and a relatively rude docking. Otherwise the Shenzhou could be “bouncing off”. It is unstandable that the Chinese worry about possible structural problem on station caused by docking in such a style.

Chen Lan

From: JBC Gmail 
Sent: Tuesday, March 05, 2013 9:47 PM
To: James Oberg 
Cc: mailto:fpspace at friends-partners.org 
Subject: Re: [FPSPACE] Docking problems reported on first Shenzhou/Tiangongmission

JimO,

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.

  _______________________________________________
  FPSPACE mailing list
  FPSPACE at www.friends-partners.org
  http://www.friends-partners.org/mailman/listinfo/fpspace



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
_______________________________________________
FPSPACE mailing list
FPSPACE at www.friends-partners.org
http://www.friends-partners.org/mailman/listinfo/fpspace
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://www.friends-partners.org/pipermail/fpspace/attachments/20130305/19eba5b4/attachment-0002.html>


More information about the FPSPACE mailing list