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Shenzhou 9 spacecraft  (Source:
China will send its Shenzhou 9 spacecraft to the Tiangong 1 orbital module

China plans to perform its first manned space docking sometime this month after a successful unmanned space docking last November.

China will send its Shenzhou 9 spacecraft to the Tiangong 1 orbital module at some point in June 2012, but the exact date hasn't been specified yet. The Shenzhou 9 already made its way to the launch platform at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center last Saturday, which is in northwest China.

Over the next few days, a series of tests on the spacecraft, carrier rocket, ground systems and astronauts will take place. There will be three astronauts aboard the Shenzhou 9, and females may be considered as part of the crew.

This manned mission comes after China launched its first successful unmanned mission last November. The Shenzhou 8 docked with the Tiangong 1 orbital module, marking China's commitment to its space-related goals.

Last December, China described its five-year space plans in a report released by the government. According to the blueprint, the country wants to construct space stations, ship freighters, space laboratories and a manned spaceship through the end of 2016.

China also said it plans to use probes to explore the moon's surface as well as asteroids, planets and the sun, and it wants to improve launch vehicles, meteorological satellites, communications and broadcasting to form a global satellite navigation system.

The U.S. recently made a successful space docking of its own, where SpaceX became the first private company to dock an unmanned spacecraft at the International Space Station (ISS). Since that successful flight, SpaceX has entered into an agreement with satellite service provider Intelsat for its Falcon Heavy rocket, and will make additional trips to the ISS for NASA as well.

Source: The New York Times

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RE: Makes me wonder.
By knutjb on 6/12/2012 11:28:34 AM , Rating: 3
The reason I pick on the clown in chief is that a leader gives us a goal and direction to go in, not the how we will do it, i.e. JFK. The clown is nothing more than a reactionary manager without vision. No vision congress wanders off topic.

The planned $40B SLS is well entrenched in limbo unlikely to return as envisioned. Space X is well placed to do an end run around the entrenched bureaucrats of NASA. People don't like change and they are used to Boeing/Lockheed. So it will be harder for Space X but they seem to be doing that. I hope they succeed.

I see NASA as a source of vision for the president to say plant us on the moon for more research and as a launch base for deep space. NASA needs to be the lead on commonality of equipment so everyone plays nice, i.e. the railroads, they use the same types of couplers, track width, car types, etc... We don't want to see early space to look like the early aircraft barnstorming period.

BTW look up how much we spent going to the moon and how much we have spent on solar cells. After you are done scratching your head at the lower cost of going to the moon…

Look how much we waste on paying just the interest on the debt, that alone could get us a long way towards those goals. Most social welfare programs don’t work. Once you get past the guilt trips from those leaching off the waste and look at the objective data you won’t feel bad in eliminating them. Head Start for example shows a benefit only at the end of the program, one year later those from Head Start show no difference from those who didn’t participate. That is from an internal Head Start evaluation. Sorry I could find the link to that report. That is but one example of thousands out there. It is YOUR money, not the governments, how do you want it spent. If you are pummeled with guilt trips when weeding out non-performing programs you are likely on the right path.

If you don't like what congress is doing; vote in a leader with vision for president, write and visit you congressman and senators, replace said congressman and senators. It does work, but it does take time.

"If you mod me down, I will become more insightful than you can possibly imagine." -- Slashdot

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