18:01 GMT +326 March 2017
    The Moon

    China Develops Spaceship Capable of Moon Landing

    © Sputnik/ Anton Denisov
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    Chinese state media is reporting that the country’s space program has developed a craft capable of both landing on the moon and flying in low-Earth orbit.

    The new spacecraft is claimed to be able to accommodate multiple astronauts, according to spaceship engineer Zhang Bainian, who Science and Technology Daily cited as comparing the forthcoming ship to the Orion craft currently in development by the European Space Agency and NASA. 

    All six crewed missions of China’s Shenzhou spacecraft, modeled after Russia’s Soyuz series, have carried three astronauts in its re-entry capsule.

    A late-bloomer in crewed space flight, 2003 marked the first time Beijing launched a human into space. Since that time its program has seen swift progress, and is now considered one of the top-three worldwide. In late 2016, two Chinese astronauts spent a month inside a space station during the country’s most recent crewed mission.

    It will take about five years to implement a fully-operational space station with a permanent crew, according to reports. The space station is thought to be a platform for future lunar-landing missions.

    Last year Beijing surpassed Moscow’s 17 rocket launches with 22, equaling the US for the first time, according to Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard University-based astrophysicist.

    Had a launchpad explosion not grounded Washington’s Space X's Falcon 9 rocket fleet in early September 2016, the US may have conducted additional launches. The explosion happened as the $195 million Amos-6 communications satellite was preparing to be launched from Cape Canaveral.


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    • avatar
      this should be 'fun' to watch.
    • Mikhas
      "The new spacecraft is claimed to be able to accommodate multiple astronauts"

      No it's not since the ship is Chinese. In this case that would be "Taikonauts", if Russian "Kosmonaut" and if Yank "Astronaut"
    • RedBanner
      Didn't China recently have a kind of unmanned satellite orbiting Mars?
      Where are the videos and the pictures?...
    • American Socialist
      wait for it... India claims it was stolen from them :P
    • supportin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, well if they are going to do it they may as well make money at it. For instance, there could not be a better environment for a quick production run of monocrystalline gas turbine blades using electrostatic vapor deposition than the surface of the Moon. There is no wind, a perfect vacuum, and no other encironmental issues except transient daylight photonic bombardment "burning" off the production batch.

      A smart VDP production line designer would have all the anodes and cathodes gangmount on a single jig and tooling fixture matrix. Once the ship sets down on the Moon's surface, unload the VDP unit, mount it on the Moon's surface, connect the power then let 'er rip. The entire array for making 3,000-4,000 Klimov TB3-117 sized rotor disc-ready turbine blades would weight less than 1500 kilos including production feedstock and would cost less than 25% of the cost of making them on Earth, 5% of what it would cost on Earth if the array were solar-powered.

      Leave the tooling, fixtures and excess feedstock behind to be used on the next flight to the Moon. Break-even for this type of mass-production would be around five years to a decade but it is a thin edge of the wedge ultimately to leverage large-scale and cost-effective mass production on the Moon's surface.

      It would be the same story for making the complex PC boards for quantum computing too, perhaps the best way to do it. Those need to be made in a low-temp vacuum as well as requiring VDP processes to complete them.
    • avatar
      If only China can do me please a favor , can you please land as close as you can around the American flag that will prove if they ever stepped a foot on the moon...
    • avatar
      michaelin reply tosupport(Show commentHide comment)
      support, OTOH, imagine if they took a qualified 'tourist' on each flight. Say goodbye to elon's dreams. :)
    • supportin reply tomichael(Show commentHide comment)
      michael, once the quantum computng conundrum is sorted out to the extent that the lunar manufacture by VDP methods is cost-effective, I doubt any government would stand for the private sector to be actually "in control" of production, regardless. Lockheed Martin, for instance, is de facto a government-owned manufacturing enterprise though of course LM has to raise its own capital for expansion from the investment community. I think the phrase I am looking for is "Kabuki dance."
    • avatar
      michaelin reply tosupport(Show commentHide comment)
      support, I believe that is always easy (if not necessarily painless), for a government to nationalise a company in the 'national interest'. As long as the appropriate people are paid off, the public's opinion can be ignored by the powers that be.
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