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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 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.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay
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