BEIJING REVEALS SPACE PLANS

AP on December 29, 2011, reported on Chinese plans to launch space labs and manned ships and prepare to build space stations over the next five years, according to a plan released that day that shows that the country’s space program is gathering momentum. Excerpts below:

China has said its eventual goals are to have a space station and to put an astronaut on the moon. It has made methodical progress with its ambitious lunar and human spaceflight programs, but its latest five-year plan beginning next year signals an acceleration.

By the end of 2016, China will launch space laboratories, manned spaceships and ship freighters, and make technological preparations for the construction of space stations, according to the white paper setting out China’s space progress and planned missions.

China’s space program has made major breakthroughs in a relatively short time, although it lags far behind the United States and Russia in space technology and experience.

The country will continue exploring the moon using probes, start gathering samples of the moon’s surface and “push forward its exploration of planets, asteroids and the sun.”

It will use spacecraft to study the properties of black holes and begin monitoring space debris and small near-Earth celestial bodies and build a system to protect spacecraft from debris.

The paper also says China will improve its launch vehicles, improve its communications, broadcasting and meteorological satellites and develop a global satellite navigation system, intended to rival the United States’ dominant global positioning system (GPS) network.

China places great emphasis on the development of its space industry, which is seen as a symbol of national prestige.

In 2003, China became the third country behind the U.S. and Russia to launch a man into space and, five years later, completed a spacewalk. Toward the end of this year, it demonstrated automated docking between its Shenzhou 8 craft and the Tiangong 1 module, which will form part of a future space laboratory.

In 2007, it launched its first lunar probe, Chang’e-1, which orbited the moon, collecting data and a complete map of the moon. Since 2006, China’s Long March rockets have launched 67 times, sending 79 spacecraft into orbit.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: