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Rendering of Chinese Tiangong-1   (Source: MSNBC)
Two years from now other modules will launch

China is looking to make itself into a technology, military, and space power over the coming years. China wanted to be part of the ISS, but NASA would not allow the country to participate. Rather than sulk in the corner, the Chinese have set about building an ISS rival and the first section of that rival space station has now been launched into orbit.

The first section of the Chinese space station, called Tiangong-1, was launched into orbit successfully. The Tiangong-1 module lifted off aboard a Long March 2FT1 rocket from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. MSNBC reports that the module is about the size of a boxcar and is in orbit 217 miles above the Earth.
The Chinese say that the module will be used to survey Chinese farmland using special cameras and will conduct an experiment that involves growing crystals in space.

After the launch of this first module, China plans to launch an unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft to practice remote controlled docking procedures with the orbiting module. The Tiangong-1 name means "Heavenly Place-1" and it will stay in space alone for two years. After the 2-year window, China will send two more modules up for more tests and then the actual space station will be launched in three sections in 2020 to 2022.

"This is a significant test. We've never done such a thing before," Lu Jinrong, the launch center's chief engineer, was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The launch of the module was delayed for a year due to technical issues with the launch rockets. The Long March 2C rocket failed to reach orbit kicking off an investigation into the cause of the failure.

As the Chinese gear up to launch their space station, NASA is looking to deorbit the ISS after 2020.

Source: MSNBC

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RE: Hey U.S.
By mcnabney on 9/30/2011 6:27:44 PM , Rating: 2
When the #1 priority is tax cuts it is little surprise that we stop doing bold, expensive things. The wars broke the bank and nobody is anxious to write checks to cover big projects.

RE: Hey U.S.
By Ringold on 9/30/2011 6:35:55 PM , Rating: 1
Eh, while the wars were expensive, they were one-off expenses, where the things that truly break the bank are long-run, constant entitlement expenses; Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.

Having skipped Iraq wouldn't of changed where the US would be fiscally by 2030, or 2050, ie, bankrupt. Afghanistan is something priced in the billions, not the untold trillions in unfunded liabilities.

But sure, something intellectually easy to grab a hold of and try to make an example of.

RE: Hey U.S.
By augiem on 10/1/2011 3:32:52 PM , Rating: 2
I meant for my post which I accidentally posted under mcnabney's parent post to be under this one. Oops. Scroll down a few messages...

RE: Hey U.S.
By johnsmith9875 on 10/2/2011 6:11:00 PM , Rating: 3
Wars are NOT "one-off" expenses. That's why congress has to continually re-budget for every war we are in, plus every war generates new wounded veterans which costs us in health care through the government funded TRICARE insurance system, not to mention retirement and disability. Wars are never easy to end and linger on, requiring more contracts to be awarded for reconstruction and support. Then of course you have your intelligence budgeting for that war, which does consume a considerable amount of money.

The GOP has managed to use its reality modification machine to turn "Obligations" into "Entitlements". SS, Medicare/Medicaid is not an entitlement, its an obligation. An entitlement is something you get for free like Welfare or LIHEAP.

Wars are entitlements, because they're optional expenditures to assist foreigners. Wonderful, help non-citizens, thats really gonna save us a lot of money.

RE: Hey U.S.
By jvillaro on 10/2/11, Rating: 0
RE: Hey U.S.
By Master Kenobi on 9/30/2011 10:43:01 PM , Rating: 1
The U.S. has been out of the space game for far longer than the past 10 years my friend.

RE: Hey U.S.
By augiem on 10/1/2011 3:29:28 PM , Rating: 5
You can rate him down all you want but first take a look at the US budget yourself.

In 2010, Medicare and SS total $1.494 trillion according to Wikipedia's chart. For simplicity's sake, assume that cost was the same for the last 10 years. $14.94 trillion over 10 years.

Now look at the Iraq/Afghanistan wars. Brown University's Costs of War project says the total cost for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan is at least $3.2-4 trillion, including a projected $1 trillion in extra spending to care for veterans returning from combat through 2050 (obviously not yet paid for.)

So by liberal estimates, $3.2-4 trillion, let's subtract the $1t future vet care and round up. $3 trillion for 10 yeras and 3 wars. That comes out to $300 billion a year on wars. Horrible. BUT, look at SS/Medicare -- $1.494 trillion IN ONE YEAR. That is a whopping 5 TIMES the cost of the wars even by liberal estimates, and it will go on ad infinitum and very likely keep increasing every year.

This all jives with the budgets. Look at the pie charts yourself. SS/Medicare is very nearly HALF the entire US budget every year dwarfing the defense department, which incidentally INCLUDES the cost of ongoing war.

So yes, war is horrible and a big cost to bear, but you can hardly blame war for single-handedly bankrupting America. If you dislike math, you may vote me down, but these are the facts without any attempt to color anything. I'm not defending war, just trying to point out the figures.

RE: Hey U.S.
By augiem on 10/1/2011 3:38:51 PM , Rating: 3
Correction: Wikipedia states - "Much of the costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been funded through regular appropriations bills, but through emergency supplemental appropriations bills. As such, most of these expenses were not included in the budget deficit calculation prior to FY2010. Some budget experts argue that emergency supplemental appropriations bills do not receive the same level of legislative care as regular appropriations bills."

So my point is invalid about the direct comparison of the DOD budget and the SS/Medicare via pie chart since the war costs were not included in the DOD budgets until 2010. However it does not chage at all the total cost over 10 years comparison.

RE: Hey U.S.
By johnsmith9875 on 10/2/2011 6:12:50 PM , Rating: 2
We don't have to go to war, we have to fund Medicare and SS. I see nothing wrong with budgeting for money that goes directly to our citizens for their retirement and health care.

I do see a problem with military adventurism that ends up benefiting only military contractors and foreigners.

RE: Hey U.S.
By Solandri on 10/2/2011 8:56:47 PM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately, 40 years of thinking like yours has caused SS, Medicare, and Medicaid to grow from about 15% of the budget to 40%.

At what point do we say enough? 50%? 80%? 100%? Right now, Medicare + Medicaid alone are projected to consume 100% of Federal tax receipts in about 60 years.

RE: Hey U.S.
By Samus on 10/3/2011 1:58:34 AM , Rating: 1
Why does everyone say we used to be on top, and China is taking over, because of space exploration...

All they're doing is launching some pods. We did that 50 years ago.

They tried to built a bullet train, and it crashed with tons of deaths within months.

They have huge pollution problems presumably causing massive birth defects and health problems.

The Chinese citizens have literally no rights compared to Americans.

If you eat three square meals a day in China, you're at the top 10% of the population. In the United States, over 80% of the population has the means to eat nutritous meals daily.

Stop saying China is taking over. They are not even close.

Space is a stupid thing to spend money on right now because we lack rocket technology advanced enough to deliver our other advancements. Even Elon Musk said concentrating on "Mars or any mission in particular is wasteful without advancing rocket technology."

Advancing rocket technology in the global private sector will be substantially more successful than the government pouring a few billion into NASA, an agency as financially mismanaged as the military.

RE: Hey U.S.
By Paj on 10/3/2011 7:28:27 AM , Rating: 2
Largely agree with this. The expansion of space industry lies with the private sector, to create innovation, drive down prices and create competition.

RE: Hey U.S.
By NellyFromMA on 10/3/2011 8:19:53 AM , Rating: 2
lol, so planned trips to man asteroids and land on Mars aren't amibitous enough? China does something that several other nations have done and somehow we're behind? Holy pessimists. I know things aren't great right now, but give me a break.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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