China National Space Administration CNSA (updates)

Recommended Posts


There has been a lot of activity with some great science ongoing and upcoming. This thread has been created to capture some of this excitement.


I would like this thread to remain on topic with science.


Another thread has been created for the geopolitical issues of science co-operation, over here...



Thank you for your co-operation....:D


First topic to set this up is from 15th of August, 2016...


China sends ground-breaking Quantum Communications Experiment into Orbit



China sent a ground breaking scientific experiment into orbit on Monday to build the foundation for secure communications technology of the future.


The Quantum Science Satellite – nicknamed Micius – is the first spacecraft to establish quantum communications between space and Earth by creating entangled photon pairs over great distances and testing the principles of quantum teleportation.


The Long March 2D rocket carrying the Micius satellite lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert at 17:40 UTC and successfully reached orbit within ten minutes of liftoff, sending the spacecraft on an ambitious demonstration mission of at least two years.


Quantum Information Science is an emerging field driven by fascinating physics and many promising applications including high-speed quantum computers and ultra-secure quantum communications. Quantum Key Distribution allows cryptographic keys to be transmitted by means of correlated, or entangled photons – particles of light.



Photo: Xinhua



QSS Quantum Entanglement Generator – Photo: Xinhua



Micius Payload Section – Photo: Xinhua



Quantum communications between two parties are inherently secure because any eavesdropping by a third party would cause the quantum state of the entangled photons to collapse, making their presence known to the rightful operators of the communications bridge. To achieve this perfect security, two parties share an encryption key encoded in the polarization of a string of entangled photons.


The theories of quantum mechanics postulate that the properties of entangled photons remain entwined over any distance. But in practice, quantum communications have only been possible over distances of a few hundred Kilometers because optical fibers and Earth’s atmosphere scatter and absorb photons. Transmitting an optical signal through the vacuum of space and using a satellite as relay could enable communications on a global scale which is exactly what Micius will prove.


The basic working principle of the Quantum Science Satellite revolves around a crystal that generates pairs of entangled photons whose properties remain coupled to one another however far apart they are. A high-fidelity optical communications system is then responsible for delivering the partners of the entangled pairs to optical ground stations in Vienna, Austria and Beijing, China where their polarization properties will be used to generate a secret encryption key.


Quantum communications represents the space race of the 21st century given the technology will uncover any tinkering and eavesdropping in the exchange of information between two parties – making it attractive for national security needs and intelligence agencies.


The promise of ultra-secure communications prompted China to invest $100 million in this pathfinder satellite mission that is likely to be followed by a constellation of spacecraft once the principles between space-to-ground quantum communications have been proven. On the ground, China is about to complete a quantum communications link between Beijing and Shanghai.

more at the link...




from 29th of August, 2016...


China’s Quantum Communications Satellite begins ambitious Testing Program



Laser beams from the sky – Mozi satellite begins Quantum Communications Testing – Photo: Han Yueyang/China National Astronomy Magazine



China’s Quantum Science Satellite Mozi (Micius), recently launched atop a Long March 2D rocket, has begun the first tests of quantum communications between itself and stations on the ground – the first test of this kind performed in a space mission.


Mozi lifted off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on August 15 as the first satellite capable of engaging in quantum communications by creating entangled photon pairs over great distances to test the feasibility of this type of communication technology for operational application.


The 640-Kilogram satellite is set for a test mission of at least two years and is likely to be followed by a global constellation of operational satellites once the principles behind satellite-based quantum communications are proven.


Quantum Information Science is an emerging field driven by fascinating physics and many promising applications such as high-speed quantum computers and ultra-secure quantum communications.



Spectacular photos posted by a scientist at the Institute of High Energy Physics show the optical link-up of the satellite and a ground station. Seen in the long-exposure photos is the satellite streaking across the sky, sending down a green laser beam (532nm wavelength) while the optical ground station sends a near infrared beam at 810nm up to the satellite.


These are used for tracking – allowing the ground station to follow the satellite’s movement in the sky while the beam from the ground allows the satellite to keep its 20-centimeter telescope pointed to the station for the exchange of entangled photons.


The working principle behind Mozi’s mission revolves around a crystal that generates pairs of entangled photons whose properties remain coupled to one another however far apart they are – as postulated in the theories of quantum mechanics. A high-fidelity optical communications system then delivers the partners of the entangled pair to ground stations in Vienna, Austria and Beijing, China where their polarization properties will be used to generate a secret encryption key.



Photo: Cao Juni / IHEP via Weibo



Though theoretically possible over infinite distances, quantum communication tests on Earth have shown a big issue – light absorption and scattering in the optical medium carrying the photons, either optical fibers or the air-filled atmosphere. To date, these issues limited communications to only a few hundred Kilometers.


A satellite relay system would eliminate these issues since absorption and scattering do not occur in the vacuum of space. Mozi will be the first realization of an end-to-end test of space-to-ground quantum communications over distances of several thousand Kilometers. The spacecraft hosts a photon generator, a key communicator, entanglement emitters and a high-speed coherent laser communicator used to lock onto ground stations.


Mozi has been named after Chinese scientist and philosopher Micius who, more than 2,000 years ago, made the discovery that light travels in straight lines.


The two-year demonstration mission aims to first proof the basics of quantum communications before upgrading to even more ambitious tests such as using the satellite as a repeater – having the ground station in Beijing send a beam of entangled photon of to the satellite and then use the satellite to beam them back down to the Vienna ground station to establish the first long-distance quantum relay. Also, quantum teleportation will be attempted – using information on the properties of photons to recreate a quantum state in a different location.


China’s initial success in the field of quantum communications may fuel efforts of other countries made in this area. Small satellite missions have already shown that entangled photons can be created in space, but their transmission to the ground had not yet been attempted prior to Mozi. (At least to public knowledge as some nations such as the U.S. may be developing quantum communications as part of classified projects.)

more at the link...




China's newly-launched quantum communication satellite in good shape



China's quantum communication satellite, launched in August, is in good shape and scientific experiments can begin this month, according to the chief scientist of the project on Thursday.


All equipment carried by the satellite, the optical system and optical mechanical system on the satellite, and all ground equipment are working well, said Pan Jianwei, chief scientist of Quantum Experiments at Space Scale (QUESS) project with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).


Satellite-to-earth links have been established between QUESS and five ground stations across China, laying the technical foundation for distributing quantum keys, Pan said.


"We are confident that the project will fulfill its tasks," Pan said.


China successfully launched the world's first quantum satellite from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center on Aug. 16.


QUESS will explore "hack-proof" quantum communications by transmitting unhackable keys from space, and provide insight into the strangest phenomenon in quantum physics - quantum entanglement.



  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

First, I apologize, I forgot to put the intro to CNSA first...will do it now...


China National Space Administration: Facts & Information



China National Space Administration logo
Credit: China National Space Administration




The China National Space Administration (CNSA) is the national agency for China to co-ordinate its space activities. In contrast to most other space agencies worldwide, the organization is not involved with the International Space Station and, in fact, has a small space station of its own.


Since 2003, when Yang Liwei became the first Chinese national in space, CNSA has done several manned space launches. In 2013, a three-person crew aboard Shenzhou 9 made the first Chinese manned docking in space, attaching to the single-room station, Tiangong 1.


The agency succeeded in making the first soft landing on the moon in decades in December 2014 with its Chang'e 3 lander and its rover, Yutu. CNSA also carries out periodic launches by itself using its Chang Zheng (Long March) rocket series.



CNSA itself formed in 1993, a year after China started its own human space program. It developed a spacecraft called Shenzhou, which rely on the Russian Soyuz spacecraft design but have been modernized by Chinese engineers.


China's first space traveler — called a taikonaut from the Mandarin word for space, tàikōng — was Yang Liwei. He entered space alone on Oct. 15, 2003, aboard Shenzhou 5. Yang's flight marked China as the third country ever to independently launch a human into space, after Russia and the United States began in 1961.


Other human spaceflight activities

Two years after Yang finished his flight, Shenzhou 6 launched with the first two-person Chinese crew. The mission reportedly was a test of how capable Shenzhou's life-support systems were, and also featured experiments and better food for the taikonauts.


The next mission, Shenzhou 7, featured the first Chinese spacewalk by Zhai Zhigang on Sept. 27, 2008. "I have been out of the hatch, I'm feeling good," Zhai said as he began his outside activities, according to the CCTV official Chinese television announcer's translation.


China selected seven new taikonauts in 2010, including two women. CNSA's one-room space station, Tiangong 1, launched in September 2011 and underwent two robotic dockings with the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft that November. The crews of Shenzhou 9 and Shenzhou 10 made their own manned dockings to Tiangong 1 in 2012 and 2013, respectively.


A successor small space station called Tiangong 2 is expected to launch in 2016. In past years, China has discussed creating a bigger space station and has also talked about perhaps doing a manned lunar mission some day.



Moon landing


CNSA made a successful soft landing on the moon with its lander, Chang'e-3. The lander deployed a rover called Yutu. Announcements from the mission are few, but the rover was confirmed to have died in March 2015. The mission sent back high-resolution pictures from the surface and also found a new kind of basaltic rock. In January 2016, state agency Xinhua reported that a follow-up mission called Chang'e-4will land on the far side of the moon (the side that never faces Earth) in 2018. No mission has soft-landed there yet.


According to multiple news reports in spring 2016, China's near-term plans include launching a successor small Tiangong-2 space station and a crew in late 2016, and sending a Mars rover out in 2020. CNSA also plans to have a larger, orbital station in service by 2020. CNSA is further working on technologies such as cargo ships and reusable rockets.




China shows first images of Mars rover, aims for 2020 mission



Concept portrayal of China's Mars probe released on August 23, 2016 by lunar probe and space project center of Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. China Daily/via REUTERS



download (1).jpg

Concept portrayal of China's Mars probe released on August 23, 2016 by lunar probe and space project center of Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. China Daily/via REUTERS



download (2).jpg

Concept portrayal of China's Mars probe released on August 23, 2016 by lunar probe and space project center of Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence. China Daily/via REUTERS



China has showed off its first images of a rover it plans to sent to Mars in mid-2020, which is designed to explore the planet surface for three months, state media said, the latest aim of China's ambitious space program.


China in 2003 became the third country to put a man in space with its own rocket after the former Soviet Union and the United States.


It has touted its plans for moon exploration and in late 2013 completed the first lunar "soft landing" since 1976 with the Chang'e-3 craft and its Jade Rabbit rover.


China's latest manned space mission is due in October and is aiming for a manned moon landing by 2036.


State news agency Xinhua, in a report late on Tuesday, said the 200 kg (441 lb) rover would have six wheels and be powered by four solar panels, two more than the rover China shot to the moon and 60 kg (132 lb) heavier.


"The challenges we face are unprecedented," Zhang Rongqiao, chief architect of the Mars mission, said, according to Xinhua.


The probe would carry 13 payloads including a remote sensing camera and a ground penetrating radar, on what is expected to be a three-month exploration mission blasting off in July or August 2020, the report added.


"The lander will separate from the orbiter at the end of a journey of around seven months and touch down in a low latitude area in the northern hemisphere of Mars where the rover will explore the surface," it said.


The Beijing News added that the northern hemisphere was not as good a place to utilize solar power as the equator, but that the geographic conditions were better.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the most extremely interesting thing I have read on Neowin. I look forward to possibly hearing about the results (if they aren't classified by China).

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
The Evil Overlord

Space Travel, Made in China :shiftyninja:

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Launch Schedule



NET Sept. 13

Long March 2F • Tiangong 2
Launch window: TBD
Launch site: Jiuquan, China
A Chinese Long March 2F rocket will launch the Tiangong 2 mini-space station laboratory module designed for docking tests and crewed visits. Delayed from early 2016. [Aug. 28]


Vigil for Tiangong 2



September 15 marks the opening of the launch window for China's Tiangong 2 space laboratory. It will also probably be the actual launch date. The launch window extends to September 20, but China has no good reason to delay the launch of Tiangong any later than necessary. There seem to be no technical reasons that would prevent it from launching at the first chance.


We have been given sparse information in the lead-up to the launch, but what little we know sounds very positive. We can also infer that other unreported events are going well, judging by China's previous experience with this type of mission.


Tiangong 2 will undergo a checkout phase after launch, as its systems are put through its paces. Checking the environmental controls will be especially important. The internal cabin atmosphere will need to be tested and filtered for any small floating particles.


A long checklist of tasks will need to be ticked off before Tiangong is judged fit for a crew. But this will not stop preparations for the next launch from continuing.


China hopes to launch two astronauts to Tiangong 2 aboard the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft soon after Tiangong 2 reaches orbit. The launch can be delayed or scrubbed if Tiangong is not healthy, but that seems unlikely.


So, we must wait a little longer for Tiangong 2, but probably not too long. Even a last-minute problem on launch day will probably only postpone the launch by around 48 hours, or less. China will almost certainly fly Tiangong 2 during the launch window.


Official Chinese media coverage has been less than satisfying for space buffs so far, but that's typical. Hopefully the pace will quicken just before Tiangong 2 launches. This will be a critical test for how Chinese space media policies are developing. To a large degree, they are influenced by changes to general media policies for China, but the space program has its own unique sensitivities. Recent times have seen a tightening in policies for both.


We seem to have been denied the usual media appetizers of snippets on experiment plans or technical upgrades. That's disappointing, but we could learn more later. China made brief references to small technical improvements to the launch vehicle, but this is not surprising. China is always steadily tweaking its rockets with incremental engineering changes. The recent loss of a Long March 4C rocket could also temper media coverage.

The vigil for Tiangong 2 continues as we await the countdown.


China to launch Tiangong-2 in September ahead of new crew mission



An artist’s rendering of the Tiangong 2 module. Photo Credit: CMS

Tiangong 2



China’s second space laboratory, Tiangong 2, is due to be launched in Q3 2016. This will be followed by a crewed expedition mission Shenzhou 11 in Q4 2016 and an experimental cargo resupply mission Tianzhou 1 in early 2017.



In February 2016, Chinese state media cited sources from the China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) that the country would orbit its second space laboratory Tiangong 2 in third quarter of this year, followed by a crewed spaceflight mission Shenzhou 11 in the fourth quarter of this year and an experimental cargo resupply mission Tianzhou 1 in the first half of 2017.


The Tiangong 2 launch will come almost exactly five years after the launch of the Tiangong 1 space laboratory, in September 2011. Unlike its predecessor, which was mainly intended as a target vehicle for perfecting orbital rendezvous docking, Tiangong 2’s main objective is to “verify key technologies including cargo transportation, on-orbit propellant resupply, and medium-term stay of astronauts”, as well as “conducting space science and application experiments on a relatively large scale”, according to the programme’s official statement.



Tiangong 2 is expected to be identical in size to its sibling Tiangong 1 launched in 2011, but with increased payload capacity and improved living conditions.


Robotic Arm

The most significant additions include a robotic arm and a micro satellite. The robotic arm, developed by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), is similar in function to the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) equipped by the International Space Station. The 10-m long robotic arm is designed to help the assembly and maintenance of the space station, move equipment and supplies around the station, and support astronauts in EVA.


Banxing 2

The Banxing 2 micro satellite, designed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology (SAST), will be launched on the piggyback of Tiangong 2 and then released in orbit to demonstrate relevant technologies. Just like its predecessor Banxing 1 launched by the Shenzhou 7 mission in 2008, Banxing 2 will probably also carry an onboard camera to capture images of the mothership in orbit.


Mission Payload

Tiangong 2 carries a total of 14 mission and experiment packages, including:

The world’s first-ever in-space cold atomic fountain clock;
Space-Earth quantum key distribution and laser communications experiment;
A Gamma ray detector;
Liquid bridge thermocapillary convection experiment;
Space material experiment;
Space plant growth experiment;
Multi-angle wide-spectral imager;
Multi-spectral limb imaging spectrometer;
Stereoscopic microwave altimeter;



China’s Tiangong-2 space lab undergoing checkouts ahead of a planned September liftoff.
Credit: CCTV via China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp.


General assembly tests run on LM 2F rockets for Tiangong 2 and Shenzhou 11 launch

video is 1:56 min.





China's Space Laboratory Tiangong 2 Moving to Launch Tower

video is 1:51 min.




Tiangong 2 is coming soon, real soon



China is still keeping its cards close to its chest, but the overall media coverage seems to be no worse than any other recent missions. Television reports have covered the upcoming launch, but we have not seen any interior shots of the module. Is the layout the same as Tiangong 1? It's probably mostly similar, but there could be some differences.


From the outside, Tiangong 2 looks similar to its predecessor, but China claims that it has a refuelling system. This will be tested when a Tianzhou cargo spacecraft makes it maiden launch and docks with Tiangong.


China has announced plans to launch the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft to Tiangong 2, carrying a crew of two astronauts. As usual, their identities remain cloaked at this stage, and we will probably not know their names until shortly before they launch. Expeditions to Tiangong 1 featured three astronauts.


The smaller crew will allow logistics to be extended for longer missions, and also allow China to experiment with the performance of a smaller crew. We expect Shenzhou 11 to launch within a few weeks, presenting a relatively short turnaround for launches.


That will demonstrate more efficient practices at the launch site and also in space. Launching two or more connected missions quickly is a critical skill for Earth Orbit Rendezvous missions to the Moon. A crewed spacecraft could dock with a booster rocket in low Earth orbit before the booster propels it into deep space.




And on another front...


Kuang-Chi near space test flight set for 2016



Traveler II Beta's main subsystems have been completed and are in the final stage of assembly and testing.



Kuang-Chi Group, a Shenzhen-based technology conglomerate, has announced that Traveler II Beta will carry animals into near space during a test flight this year. The announcement came during the opening ceremony of the company's research center for near space technologies in Haikou, Hainan, China's southernmost province.


Traveler II Beta is a flying device used for data collection and analysis, and traveling in the near space region, which is between 20 and 100km above sea level - more than twice the altitude flown by commercial airlines. In June 2015, Traveler completed its first test flight in New Zealand, reaching the designated flight altitude of 21km and successfully transmitting data back to the ground.


Located in the Haikou Hi-tech Zone, the only one of its kind in the province, Kuang-Chi's Haikou Institute of Future Technology signed an agreement on the development and exploration of near space technologies in December 2015. According to Haikou Mayor Ni Qiang, more than 40 projects have been introduced to the hi-tech zone since 2015 and more than 80% of those are high-tech companies. The mayor noted that the area is a good fit for Kuang-Chi, as it is heavily focused on innovation.


"Haikou has the best research resources for space exploration. Wenchang Satellite Launch Center is located in Hainan and most of its scientific workers are living in Haikou, which will help our near space exploration," according to Dr. Liu Ruopeng, president of Kuang-Chi. Additionally, the rich sea resources around Hainan provide much space for future applications of environmental analysis and monitoring.


Traveler II Beta's main subsystems have been completed and are in the final stage of assembly and testing. The manned Traveler II is also in the final stage of assembly and cabin tests are expected to be completed by the end of 2016 with flight tests beginning in 2017.



Link to post
Share on other sites

New launch Schedule



Sept. 15  Long March 2F • Tiangong 2
Launch window: Approx. 1410 GMT (10:10 a.m. EDT)
Launch site: Jiuquan, China
A Chinese Long March 2F rocket will launch the Tiangong 2 mini-space station laboratory module designed for docking tests and crewed visits. Delayed from early 2016. [Sept. 13]









Two astronauts will live in Tiangong 2 for 30 days



China is sending two astronauts to test the country's most-advanced space station. The pair will stay in the Tiangong Space Module for 30 days. It will be China's longest manned space mission. Luo Yu has more.


Imagine being unable to stand on your feet for weeks. Instead, you float in a room orbiting earth. That is what awaits two Chinese astronauts.They will stay in the Tiangong 2 space module for about a month. At the completion of their mission, the two will have doubled China's previous mission record of 15 days. But human beings are not designed to live in weightlessness and isolation.


"We try to make a good environment inside the module for living and working. In order to make astronauts' lives comfortable there, we carefully designed the lighting system and decorations in the module to make them feel less anxious. We also installed equipment to make life more convenient." Zhu Congpeng, chief designer of Tiangong 2 space lab, said.


By this he means a set of multi-functional tray tables on which astronauts can eat, write and even do some scientific experiments.


The Tiangong 2 is also equipped with a portable bluetooth stereo. So when astronauts put on bluetooth earphones, they can speak to people down on earth while moving freely in the room.


"In previous manned missions, people had to put on big headsets to contact earth. So they could not go anywhere when speaking on the phone. Now all the talking up there will be through the bluetooth stereo and earphones." Bo Linho, equipment designer of Tiangong 2 space lab, said.


Tiangong 2 designers will also test water and food sustainability for the upcoming mission. But their ambition goes beyond letting people live in space for 30 days. The space module's chief designer says his team wants to build a fully-functional space station, which can support life for months.



A look at the facility where China's carrier rockets are tested



China's new space lab Tiangong-2 will be carried into orbit by the Long March 2F rocket. CCTV's Ding Siyue takes a look at where carrier rockets are assembled and tested ahead of the launch.


They say "Preparedness averts peril." This is where Chinese scientists and engineers are preparing the Long March 2F carrier rocket. The building in northwest China's Jiuquan is the only facility capable of assembling manned rockets in the country.


An engineer Zhang Qing said, "The building covers an area of 30-thousand and 6-hundred square meters, and it's 93 meters high. It's internal height is 81-point-6 meters. It's the largest one-storey building for industrial tests in Asia."


Engineers use a platform to conduct examinations and tests on the rocket. A huge crane is used to get the rocket upright. The rocket is then moved to the launch pad vertically. 


Engineers say the facility has more to show. "There's another section of this building we call the 'west section' that is identical to the one we are in now. This way, we are able to assemble and test two rockets simultaneously. That means we are able to launch two rockets within a short period," Zhang said. 


China's Shenzhou 11 manned spacecraft is already in place. After Tiangong-2 leaves earth, the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft will start its journey from right here.



  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

China to Launch New Tiangong-2 Space Lab Soon



As China's second orbiting space lab, Tiangong-2 is a part of the Project 921-2 space station program, with the goal of creating a third-generation space station.


In October, China will launch two still-unnamed astronauts on the Shenzhou-11 mission to link up with the Tiangong-2. The visiting crew would stay onboard the module for 30 days, marking China's longest human spaceflight to date.


Next year, Tiangong-2 is to be visited by China's first robotic refueling and cargo vessel, Tianzhou-1. That unpiloted cargo ship is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2018 atop a Long March 7 rocket that will lift off from China's new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center spaceport on Hainan Island.


All this action is prelude to China's progression to a larger, 60-ton modular space station for the 2020s.


The core module for the Chinese space station — Tianhe-1 — is reportedly due for launch in 2018, hurled into orbit by China's heavy-lift Long March 5 booster.


China's Space Laboratory Tiangong 2 Sits on Tower, Poised for Launch

video is 1:03 min.






This is an article from last year describing the 3rd space station.


China's Space Station Planners Put Out Welcome Mat



An artist's concept of China's planned space station.
Credit: SpaceNews



ERUSALEM — China is soliciting international participation in its future manned space station in the form of foreign modules that would attach to the three-module core system, visits by foreign crew-transport vehicles for short stays and the involvement of non-Chinese researchers in placing experiments on the complex, the chief designer of China's manned space program said Oct. 12.


But he declined to commit to an international orbital docking technology that would facilitate international participation in the Chinese facility.

The Chinese orbital station, consisting of a core module and two experiment-carrying modules, can be expanded to a total of six modules if international partners want to invest in their own components, said Zhou Jianping, chief designer of the China Manned Space Program at the China Manned Space Agency.



China has signed initial space station cooperation agreements with the Russian and European space agencies, and while the European Space Agency has begun training astronauts in Chinese, there is no specific plan yet to send astronauts to the Chinese facility.


The core module of the Chinese station is scheduled for launch in 2018, Zhou said. Crew-carrying Chinese capsules will visit the module before the two experiment modules are added to complete the initial station design.


"Work is well under way," said Zhou, whose education includes time at the University of Southern California. "All the modules and associated vehicles are under development."



One of the interesting features of the Chinese space station is that it will be served from two of China's four spaceports.


The cargo modules will be launched aboard Chinese 5B rockets from the Hainan spaceport in southern China, at 19 degrees north latitude.


Pressurized and unpressurized cargo will be launched aboard Long March 7 rockets, also from Hainan.


But China's Shenzhou crew-transport vehicle is launched from the Jiuquan launch facility at 41 degrees north latitude, in the Gobi Desert of Inner Mongolia.


The station will operate for 10 years or more, at an altitude of 340-450 kilometers with an orbital inclination of 42-43 degrees relative to the equator.

The International Space Station managed by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada, operates in low Earth orbit of around 400 kilometers in altitude, with an orbital inclination of 51.6 degrees, an accommodation to Russia, whose Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan is at 46 degrees north latitude.


Zhou said China plans to launch an astronomy telescope into an orbit near enough to the space station to dock to it for upgrades and servicing. He declined to specify the telescope's size.


The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, has said it wants to maintain the current space station until at least 2024. NASA has said likewise, and both have said the facility could last until 2028 given the current understanding of hardware obsolescence and future maintenance requirements of the core structure.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget kids... Tiangong-2 goes up in roughly half an hour after this time of posting! 14:04 GMT, 10:04am EDT.


Yes, that will be LIVE broadcasted by the Chinese. Quite rare, but hey... they also did it back in 2011 for Tiangong-1!



  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

So Chinas space program is moving ahead in leaps and bounds and America goes cap in hand to Russia to get there people in space. Irony

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Liftoff happened nicely. SRB's dropped nicely, 1st stage cutoff and sep also + payload fairing all gone. On its way to space!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks @Beittil for the updates...I missed the launch by an hour...:s


China Launches Tiangong-2 Space Laboratory Module



Launch of China's Tiangong-2 Space Laboratory Module.  credit CCTV



China launched the Tiangong-2 space laboratory module on a Long March 2F rocket today. The two year year mission of Tiangong-2 will see two Chinese astronauts occupy the space lab for up to a month at a time to perform a variety of scientific experiments.


In October, Shenzhou 11, will launch with two astronauts on the first mission to the newly commissioned space lab.


China successfully launches Tiangong-2 space lab

video is 4:10 min.



The above video is actually very good...shows a real good "Korolev Cross", such as this Soyuz...




// When SpaceX FH flies, we may have to come up with a 2 booster separation RTLX  (Return to landing X)




China’s Tiangong 2 space lab successfully blasts off



The Tiangong 2 space lab launched at 1404 GMT (10:04 a.m. EDT; 10:04 p.m. Beijing time) Thursday on top of the Long March 2F T2 rocket. Credit: Xinhua



The next stepping stone in China’s human spaceflight program launched Thursday, delivering a destination and living quarters to orbit for two astronauts preparing for liftoff next month on a planned 33-day expedition, the country’s longest space mission to date.


The Tiangong 2 space lab rode a Long March 2F launcher into orbit from the Jiuquan space center in northwestern China’s Gobi Desert.


In live video broadcast from Jiuquan by Chinese state television, access platforms and electrical umbilical arms swung away from the 170-foot-tall (52-meter) Long March 2F T2 launcher in the final minutes of the countdown, and eight engines ignited with a puff of orange exhaust at 1404 GMT (10:04 a.m. EDT; 10:04 p.m. Beijing time) Thursday.


The rocket climbed in a clear nighttime sky, and a camera fixed to the vehicle showed the Long March 2F’s four strap-on YF-20B booster engines dropping away about two-and-a-half minutes into the flight. Moments later, the core stage jettisoned and the second stage’s main engine and vernier steering thrusters ignited as planned.


The upper stage shut down and deployed the 19,000-pound (8.6-metric ton) Tiangong 2 laboratory around the 10-minute point of the mission, and Chinese officials declared the launch a success.


“Tiangong 2 operates normally, and the orbit injection fulfilled the requirements, and the solar panels are also stretched out,” said Gen. Zhang Youxia, commander-in-chief of China’s human spaceflight program. “I would like to declare the launch mission of the Tiangong 2 space lab has achieved a complete success.”



The Long March 2F T2 rocket soars by the moon. Credit: Xinhua



The Tiangong 2 spacecraft is kicking off a two-year mission to conduct a slate of scientific experiments and lay the technological foundation for a Chinese space station set to be assembled in orbit several hundred miles above Earth by 2022.


China’s latest space mission will demonstrate cargo resupply and propellant refueling procedures required for the country’s future space station, and host an array of research experiments developed by Chinese and international scientists, according to senior space officials.


If all goes according to plan, two Chinese astronauts will launch aboard the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft in mid-to-late October in pursuit of the Tiangong 2 space lab. Shenzhou 11 will dock with the spacecraft to form a mini-space station, and astronauts will live and work inside the module for 30 days, officials said.


The Shenzhou 11 mission’s total duration is slated to be 33 days, including flight time before docking and after undocking with Tiangong 2, according to Wu Ping, deputy director of the China Manned Space Agency.


That is more than twice the length of China’s longest-duration piloted spaceflight to date, a 15-day expedition in 2013.


Wu said the astronauts, who have not been publicly identified, will conduct medical experiments, test out maintenance procedures, and help with other research investigations.


The launcher was expected to initially place the Tiangong 2 spacecraft in an egg-shaped transfer orbit with a perigee, or low point, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) above Earth. The module’s on-board thrusters will raise its orbit to an altitude of 238 miles (384 kilometers) in the days after launch.


Ground controllers in Beijing will verify the health of the craft’s propulsion, power supply and communications systems before positioning Tiangong 2 in orbit 244 miles (393 kilometers) up, the prescribed docking altitude for the Shenzhou 11 mission, Wu said in a press conference Wednesday.


She said the launch of Tiangong 2 is the start of a new phase in China’s human spaceflight program.



Artist’s concept of the Shenzhou 11 (left) and Tiangong 2 (right) spacecraft docking in orbit. Credit: CCTV



The Tiangong 2 spacecraft launched Thursday looks much like the Tiangong 1 module shot into orbit in September 2011, but engineers have overhauled the lab’s interior to make it more comfortable for astronauts, more useful for scientists, and more like the structures that will ultimately make up China’s space station.


“Tiangong 1 was a target spacecraft in order to finish the docking experiments with the Shenzhou spacecraft, but Tiangong 2 is a space lab at its core,” Wu said. “It has two major missions: First is to carry out large-scale space science experiments and space application experiments, including medical experiments, and second is to (support) medium-term space stays for astronauts, propellant refueling and in-orbit maintenance. These are key technologes for the building of space stations.”


Like the precursor Tiangong 1 module, Tiangong 2 measures about 34 feet (10.4 meters) long and 11 feet (3.4 meters) wide. Its two solar array wings will span 60 feet (18.4 meters) tip-to-tip when unfurled in space.


“Tiangong 2 and Tiangong 1 basically look the same from the exterior, but in order to accomplish the above-mentioned missions … we have done a lot of renovations,” Wu said. “First, we have a lot of applications, including space science, Earth observation, science research and application of new technologies, and also we have medical experiment facilities loaded on it.”


Unlike the earlier mission, Tiangong 2 is equipped to receive fuel deliveries.


“Second, in order to test the technology for propellant refueling, we have done a lot of renovation,” Wu said. “We added compressors so that it can work better during the docking with the cargo spaceship.”


The living quarters on Tiangong 2 are also improved.


“We’ve tried to make a good environment inside the module for living and working in order to make the astronauts’ lives comfortable there,” said Zhu Congpeng, chief designer of the Tiangong 2 space lab, in an interview with China’s government-run CCTV news channel. “We carefully designed the lighting system and decorations to make them feel less anxious. We’ve also installed equipment to make life more convenient.”


For example, the astronauts will have Bluetooth-equipped wireless earphones to communicate with mission control, rather than wired headsets.

Wu said Tiangong 2 carries exercise equipment and “recreation facilities,” along with better dining and sleeping quarters.


There are also upgrades to the module’s air circulation system, and Tiangong 2 will launch with a robotic arm to test technology which astronauts could use for maintenance and assembly tasks, Wu said.



After Tiangong 2, China aims to launch the Tianhe 1 module around 2018 to form the centerpiece of the country’s larger orbital complex. Two 20-ton research modules and power-generating solar power array will join Tianhe 1 in orbit by 2022, when the station will be declared operational with a permanent rotating three-person crew, according to Chinese state media reports.


China also plans to develop a powerful astronomical observatory in the same class as the Hubble Space Telescope to orbit alongside, and potentially dock with, the space station.



The Tiangong 2 spacecraft entered orbit after flying east from Jiuquan. Chinese ships relayed telemetry from the space lab to mission control. Credit: CCTV


China’s ‘Heavenly Palace’ Space Laboratory arrives in Orbit after flawless Launch



Link to post
Share on other sites

Few notable updates...


First commercial space base to be built in Wuhan



The country's first commercial space industry base will be built in Wuhan, capital of Hubei province, according to an agreement signed on Monday.


The Wuhan National Space Industry Base will focus on the development of carrier rockets and satellites, commercial launch services and applications of satellite data.


The base plans to establish an annual production capacity of 50 carrier rockets and 140 commercial satellites by 2020, said Zhang Di, deputy head of the Fourth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, after a signing ceremony between his company and the governments of Hubei and Wuhan at the Second China Commercial Aerospace Forum.


More than 700 government officials, military officers and experts from the space industry and universities attended the forum in Wuhan.



In mid-February, the Fourth Academy set up the nation's second commercial launch provider, Expace Technology Co, as the backbone of the Wuhan space base, with Zhang as the new company's chairman.


The company, which has registered capital of 300 million yuan ($44.9 million), has signed a 100 million yuan launch contract with several domestic clients, Zhang said. He declined to give clients' names due to business confidentiality.


He added that Expace has received orders for more than 10 launches using the academy's solid-fuel Kuaizhou, or Fast Vessel, rockets.


"In fact, orders have been continuing to swarm into our company, but we have to reject some of them because we must guarantee a good service quality," Zhang said. "We don't worry about orders because our rate, around $10,000 for each kilogram of payload, is much lower than the average charge in the international market, which ranges from $25,000 to $30,000."


In China, a commercial launch generally refers to a space launch activity paid for by an entity other than a Chinese government department or military agency.



China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp began to develop Kuaizhou solid-fuel rockets in 2009, intending to form a low-cost, quick-response rocket family for the commercial launch market.


The first flight of a Kuai-zhou rocket occurred in September 2013, when the company launched the Kuaizhou 1 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province to put an Earth observation satellite into orbit. In November 2014, the Kuaizhou 2 sent another satellite into space from the same launch center.


The Fourth Academy is now making the Kuaizhou 11 and plans to launch it in 2017, according to Liang Jiqiu, chief designer of the Kuaizhou program at the Fourth Academy.


Liang said the Kuaizhou 11 has a liftoff weight of 78 metric tons and will be capable of placing a 1-metric-ton payload into a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 kilometers, or a 1.5-metric-ton payload into a low Earth orbit at an altitude of 400 km.


This will take care of their small sat requirements and help other countries in the immediate area.




China plans global satellite network to boost internet



Zhang Di, deputy head of the Fourth Academy of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, said Chinese internet giants such as Baidu Inc and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, as well as State-owned telecom companies like China Telecom, have contacted his company to explore cooperation opportunities.



China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, the nation's largest missile developer, plans to build a space-based information network that will provide global coverage.


Liu Shiquan, deputy general manager of the State-owned space and defense giant, said on Monday the company will put 156 communications satellites into low Earth orbit, at an altitude of 160 to 2,000 km. Each satellite of the network will be able to transmit 500 mega-bytes of data per second.


"We will launch a satellite this year to demonstrate the technologies for the Hongyun Project. Before 2019, four satellites will have been put into space to conduct trial operations. The rest will follow in 2019 and 2020, ensuring that the whole network will be built before 2021," he said at the Second China Commercial Aerospace Forumin Wuhan, Hubei province.


"When the Hongyun system becomes operational, users around the world will be able to connect with broadband internet anytime and anywhere, even from on board an aircraft or a ship or in a remote area," Liu said.



In addition to the Hongyun system, Liu said, China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp has begun developing a reusable combined-powered spacecraft for commercial space activities that it is expected to be put to service after 2030.


He disclosed that his company is also researching a large electromagnetic acceleration system capable of lifting futuristic electrically propelled rockets or traditional liquid-fueled rockets.


Yang said the electro magnetic launch system will help save fuel and boost thrust.




China to share space development benefits with all: official



Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/9/15 11:16:53


China will share the benefits of the development in its manned space program with all countries, especially developing countries, a space program official said Wednesday. 


China will also expand international cooperation on equipment research and development, space application, astronaut training, joint flight and aerospace medical care, said Wu Ping, deputy director of the manned space engineering office, at a press conference. 


China has signed multiple cooperation agreements with countries such as Russia, Germany and France, and organizations including the European Space Agency (ESA) and the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, according to Wu. 


"We have always insisted on conducting international exchanges and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and transparency, jointly promoting the progress and development of space technology," she said. 


At the press conference, Wu said China will launch its Tiangong-2 space lab at 10:04 p.m. Thursday. 


Tiangong-2's payload includes POLAR, a collaboration between ESA and Chinese institutions to study gamma ray bursts. A Sino-French research project on astronaut cardiovascular function will also be conducted via the space lab. 


In July, Chinese astronaut Ye Guangfu participated in an advanced underground training course organized by the ESA in Italy. 


"We are willing to work with all countries [...] to make contributions to peacefully use space and create benefits for mankind," Wu said.




Abstract, Calibration of Gamma-ray Burst Polarimeter POLAR


Calibration of Gamma-ray Burst Polarimeter POLAR, 5 page pdf



  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

China's Atomic Clock Might Be the Key to Its Race to Space



he National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado is home to the world’s most accurate clock — but not for long. Chinese inventors recently announced they have created their own Cold Atomic Clock that would be both smaller and three times more accurate than the clock at NIST.


Designed for space, the new Chinese clock fits comfortably in the trunk of a car and would only lose a second every billion years. The U.S. clock stands more than 2.5 meters high and loses just one second of accuracy every 300 million years.


Atomic clocks use the vibrations of molecules to track time at a precise interval. However, clock precision tends to deteriorate after a few hours because atoms are dispersed in the high-pressure gas, altering their frequency. Cold atom clocks don’t use gases, making them up to 1,000 times more accurate. The cold atomic clock at NIST uses one million rubidium atoms, cooled with lasers and trapped in a magnetic field. The atoms are then stimulated by near-infrared lasers above and below. The two frequencies of light generated by the lasers cause the atoms to oscillate between energy states.


But atoms are also distracted by gravity. By launching its clock into space, the Chinese clock will avoid the negative pull exerted by gravity, increasing the accuracy of the clock dramatically.


“It is the world’s first cold atomic clock to operate in space … it will have military and civilian applications,” Professor Xu Zhen, a scientist involved with the Cacs project, told South China Morning Post.


China’s satellite navigation network has lagged by U.S. GPS systems in precision for years, but the space clock would dramatically increase its performance. The technology will be essential to the launch of its Tiangong-2 Space Lab.


Federal budget cuts killed plans in the U.S. for a similar project. China’s ambitious plans (and funding) to be the new leader in space exploration has drawn an increasing number of foreign scientists, Professor Wu Bobing, a researcher with the Institute of High Energy Physics in Beijing, told South China Morning Post.


While the advancement has important implications for China’s quickly growing space program, the country is still far behind its European peers in space travel. The country plans to launch its first full-sized international space station by 2022.




China acquires basic technology for manned lunar missions



Xinhua, September 16, 2016


China has acquired the basic technology to carry out manned lunar missions, chief engineer of China's manned space program Zhou Jianping said Thursday.


Compared with current missions, the technology used for manned lunar missions are more complex, Zhou said.


In order to achieve the goal of carrying out manned lunar missions, China needs rockets with greater load capacity, manned aircraft that can land on the lunar surface and return, and aircraft that can shuttle between Earth and the moon, Zhou said.


In addition, Zhou disclosed that the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in southern China's Hainan Province is likely to be the second launch site for China's manned space program.


China's space station and cargo spacecraft will be launched at the Wenchang launch site, Zhou said, adding that from a technical perspective it is better to carry out manned lunar missions at the Wenchang site.


Completed in 2014, the Wenchang launch site is the fourth of its kind in China. Being the closest site to the equator, Wenchang boasts considerable latitudinal advantages. Satellites launched nearer the equator have a longer service life as they have a shorter journey to make it into geostationary orbit and save fuel accordingly.


"China has begun to develop a Mars probe, but such exploration will be a very complex project," Zhou added.




Tiangong-2 takes China one step closer to space station



Xinhua   2016-09-16 01:04:59


JIUQUAN, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- China's Tiangong-2 space lab blasted off on Thursday, marking another milestone in its increasingly ambitious space program, which envisions a mission to Mars by the end of this decade and its own space station by around 2020.


In a cloud of smoke underneath a mid-autumn full moon, Tiangong-2 roared into the air at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gobi desert, on the back of a Long March-2F T2 rocket at 10:04 p.m. Beijing Time.


The Long March-2F T2 is a two-stage launch vehicle that uses four strap-on boosters during its first stage.


About 20 minutes later, the mission was declared a success.


Tiangong-2 separated from the rocket and entered the preset orbit 575 seconds after blast-off, a statement from the mission control read.


While in space, the 8.6-tonne Tiangong-2 will maneuver itself into an orbit about 380 kilometers above Earth for initial in-orbit tests. It will then transfer to a slightly higher orbit of about 393 kilometers above Earth's surface.


Later, the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft will carry two astronauts into space to dock with the lab. The astronauts will work in the lab for 30 days before returning to Earth.


In April 2017, China's first space cargo ship Tianzhou-1, which literally means heavenly vessel, will be sent into orbit to dock with the space lab, providing fuel and other supplies.


Wu Ping, deputy director of China's manned space engineering office, said on Wednesday that experts will verify and evaluate key technologies involved with in-orbit refueling and equipment repairs, as well as those related to astronauts' long-term stay in space during the mission.


They will also use the lab, which is designed to operate for at least two years, to conduct space science experiments on a relatively large scale compared to China's previous efforts.


China's manned space program has entered a "new phase of application and development," Wu said.



The successful launch of the Tiangong-2, along with the maiden flight of China's new generation carrier rocket Long March-7 in June, bodes well for the final phase of China's three-step manned space program.


The first step, to send an astronaut into space and return safely, was fulfilled by Yang Liwei in the Shenzhou-5 mission in 2003.


The second step is developing advanced space flight techniques and technologies including extra-vehicular activity and orbital docking. This phase also includes the launch of two space laboratories - effectively mini space-stations that can be manned on a temporary basis.


Finally, the third step will be to assemble and operate a permanent manned space station.



"Once the space lab mission comes to an end, China will start building our own space station," he said, adding this could start in as early as 2017.

Construction of the space station is planned for completion by around 2020.


It will enter into service around 2022, with an initial designed life of at least 10 years, Zhu Zongpeng told Xinhua. By then, astronauts could be stationed in orbit for missions that last more than one year, he added.


The Chinese space station will be much smaller than the current International Space Station (ISS), which weigh 420 tonnes, but it can be expanded for "scientific research and international cooperation," Zhou said.


With the ISS set to retire in 2024, the Chinese station will offer a promising alternative, and China will be the only country with a permanent space station.


According to Zhou, the Chinese space station will be more "economically efficient and informationized" than the ISS. It will be able to house a maximum of six astronauts at the same time and manned missions will become routine once the space station enters service.



Credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation



If all goes as planned, Tiangong-2 will host its first visiting crew in mid-October 2016 when the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft arrives with a two-man crew. China Manned Space has not yet named the two astronauts for that mission. Shown here is an artist's depiction of Shenzhou-11 (left) docked at Tiangong-2.

In 2017, China's first unmanned cargo ship, the Tianzhou-1, is expected to launch to Tiangong-2 to test automated resupply mission technology.

and for 2020...



Credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation



China Manned Space views the Tiangong-2 space lab as a major pathfinder for its planned full-size space station. Unlike the Tiangong-1 space missions, which were relatively short duration, astronauts will live and work on Tiangong-2 for weeks at a time, and the arrival of Tianzhou-1 will add a supply line for long-stay crews.

China Manned Space officials have said that the country's full-size space station will be pieced together using modules linked to central hubs, as shown in this air show model.




Credit: China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation



This China Manned Space graphic offers a better look at the country's planned space station. The orbiting laboratory will weigh about 60 tons, more than six times larger than Tiangong-2, and will feature a series of modules to provide living and research space.

The manned space station is part of China's overall stepping stone approach to human spaceflight that began with the launch of astronaut Yang Liwei on the country's first manned flight in 2003.







Link to post
Share on other sites

Growing plants in Tiangong-2



In the history of China's manned space flights, this time we have most space science tasks. Among them, Tiangong-2 space lab will carry plants to space, so as to study how human can grow plants in space. Gavin Blackburn reports.


In the movie "the Martian", astronaut Mark Watney survives on the Red Planet by growing potatoes. But the process was difficult, and any carelessness could mean no harvest. 


In reality, growing plants in space is even harder. In Tiangong-2, scientists have built a mini "greenhouse", with controlled temperature and light. Rice and mouse-ear cress will be grown.


Professor of Shanghai institutes for biological sciences, Zheng Huiqiong, said, "Before the launch of the Tiangong space tab, most of our experienments were short-term. Biological experiments in space were limited to 20 days. But it's quite hard, or even impossible for higher plants to finish a biological cycle. And we have never conducted a full seed-to-seed growth cycle experiment in space. China will conduct the first of these seed-to-seed experiements in space through Tiangong-2."


The higher plant incubators are divided into two parts: one that stays in space, and one for plants that will return to earth.  The one that stays in space has four units: two for rice, two for mouse-cress.  The plants will be grown under long-day or short-day conditions for comparison. This will be the first real-time experiment of this kind in one incubator.


Zheng said, "The components of the seeds will probably change when there's no gravity. So we will analyze the seeds brought back from space, and see what has changed, and the reasons behind such changes."


Three cameras will record the entire growth cycle. Two are visible light cameras, the other is a fluorescent camera, which is used to study the flowering gene.


"The reason plants produce flowers is something called the flowering gene in these plants. In previous experiments in space, the plants flowered later than on earth. In the space experiment this time, we will observe and research the relations between flowering and gravity," said Zheng.


Expectations are high. Scientists hope the experiments on board Tiangong-2 will yield new discoveries applicable to life on earth.


Rice tastes a bit better than flowers.....hope this works well.




China to conduct brain-computer interaction experiments on Tiangong-2



China on Spet.15 launches space lab Tiangong-2 into space, paving the way for a permanent space station the country plans to build around 2022.(Photo/Xinhua)

Tiangong-2, China’s first space lab in a real sense, was successfully launched into space on Sept. 15. A brain-computer interaction test system, developed by Tianjin University and installed in the lab, will conduct a series of experiments in space.

Ming Dong, the leader of the research team in charge of the brain-computer test system, said that brain-computer interaction will eventually be the highest form of human-machine communication. China will conduct the first ever space brain-machine interaction experiments, ahead even of developed countries.

The brain-computer interaction test system in Tiangong-2 boasts 64 national patents. The research team has long been devoted to the research of brain-computer interactions, previously developing two idiodynamic artificial neuron robotic systems that can help with the rehabilitation of stroke patients. 

The brain-computer interaction technology will also help Tiangong-2 astronauts to more easily accomplish their assigned tasks. 

For instance, Ming explained that brain-computer interaction can transfer the astronauts' thoughts into operations, while at the same time monitoring their neurological function.


This sounds very interesting...will have to dig up more data on this experiment.




Tiangong-1 Space Lab Will Fall to Earth Next Year, China Says



Artist's illustration of China's 8-ton Tiangong-1 space lab, which is expected to fall to Earth late next year, unless it's boosted to a higher altitude.
Credit: CMSE



China's first-ever space lab will die a fiery death in Earth's atmosphere toward the end of next year, Chinese officials said.


The 9.4-ton (8.5 metric tons) Tiangong-1 spacecraft is currently intact and orbiting Earth at an altitude of 230 miles (370 kilometers), according to Wu Ping, deputy director of China's Manned Space Engineering office. That's a bit lower than the International Space Station, which usually stays about 250 miles (400 km) above the planet's surface.


Tiangong-1 will likely fall back to Earth in the second half of 2017, and its demise shouldn't cause problems here on the ground, Wu said. [Gallery: Tiangong 1, China's First Space Laboratory]


"Based on our calculation and analysis, most parts of the space lab will burn up during falling," she said during a news conference Wednesday (Sept. 14), according to China's state-run Xinhua news agency.


China is monitoring Tiangong-1 (whose name means "Heavenly Palace" in Mandarin) closely and will issue the appropriate warnings if the space lab threatens to hit a satellite, Wu added. She said that China will release a forecast of Tiangong-1's fall to Earth "if necessary," according to Xinhua.


The update from Wu seems to confirm speculation that China is no longer in control of the 34-foot-long (10.3 meters) Tiangong-1, which launched in September 2011 to test out docking technologies and other skills that China will need to build its planned space station in the early 2020s. 


After all, if operators were still controlling the space lab, they could steer it to a guided re-entry over an empty stretch of ocean at a specified time.



  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Draconian Guppy

why are they letting their first space station crash? seems like a waste of technology IMO? just keep it up there for spare parts!

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

They can't. They have lost control of it, can't even bring it down in an orderly fashion. That's why it is going to just crash into the atmosphere next year.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Draconian Guppy said:

why are they letting their first space station crash? seems like a waste of technology IMO? just keep it up there for spare parts!

As Beittil posted above, they lost communications with the lab and are technically helpless in its decay. The lab is 8.5 tonne and approximately 10.4 meters long. Most will burn up during re-entry but approximately 100 kg of hardened materials (engine) will probably get through. The point of re-entry will not be known until it begins, then an approximate area will be mapped for touchdown of leftover debris.


Usually these larger pieces are steered to the Pacific spacecraft cemetery....between South America and Australia...but if control is lost, one has to rely on the mathematical odds of water over land.



Even though China may not be able to steer Tiangong 1’s flaming corpse into a specific spot, humans will likely be unharmed. The odds are very low it will fall in an inhabited area: Roughly speaking, half of the world’s population lives on just 10 percent of the land, which translates to only 2.9 percent of Earth’s surface.



This has occurred before....



This would not be the first uncontrolled landing, either. President Jimmy Carter issued an apology to Australia in 1979, after the 77-ton Skylab fell to Earth. The wreckage landed near a remote Australian town. Although no one was injured, the Australian town fined the United States $400 for littering. A California radio DJ finally paid the fine in 2009.



Tiangong-1 was the first prototype to test docking and station facilities. Three craft visited the installation. Tiangong-2 is a large technical increase for testing docking, remote cargo and station refueling, as well as a number of very important experiments. The 3rd station should be completed by 2020, with the first module going up near the end of 2017.


Tiangong-1 Tracking application...Tiangong-2 will be added when app updated.






Space plane taking shape



As competition in the international aerospace field becomes increasingly fierce, Chinese space engineers have reached a consensus that the new craft is of great importance to China's aviation and space sectors, a statement released after the First China Combined-Cycle Aerospace Vehicle Development Forum in Beijing said on Tuesday.

The cutting-edge craft will have many opportunities in the government-backed space and business sectors, so Chinese researchers have decided to work together to develop the technology, it said.

More than 300 officials, business leaders and experts took part in the event hosted by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.
A combined-cycle aerospace vehicle is propelled by a combination of turbine, ramjet and rocket engines, space experts said.

The craft uses turbine engines, like those installed on jetliners, or rocket-based combined-cycle engines, when it takes off from a conventional runway.

After it reaches a certain speed, the ramjet will be activated to thrust the spacecraft into the stratosphere or to the next layer of the Earth's atmosphere, the mesosphere. At this point, rocket engines will be used to put the vehicle into orbit.

Engineers at the China Institute of Combined-Cycle Aerospace Vehicle Technology have started preliminary research on a reusable, combined-cycle space plane. Currently, they are working on key technologies for such craft, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which administers the institute.

A senior researcher at the institute, who wished to be identified only as Liu, said that the United States and Britain have studied combined-cycle propulsion for a long time and are working toward reusable space planes for commercial payload launches as well as space tourism.

"This kind of craft has several advantages - it has a low operational cost and high reliability, can conduct takeoffs and landings using a conventional airport and is suitable for performing scheduled flights as a passenger space plane," he said.

"The rapid growth in commercial satellite launch services and space tourism offers a promising market for the combined-cycle space plane," Liu said.
"Moreover, it can realize the aspiration of ultrafast air travel. Passengers will be able to get to anyplace on the globe within only several hours in the future."



  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Tiangong-2: China fires up science payloads



A rendering of China' Tiangong-2 space lab in orbit. (Photo: CMSE)



Science and space application payloads aboard China's second space laboratory, Tiangong-2, came online on Thursday after a week on standby in orbit.


Tiangong-2 was launched on September 15 from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre, with the main aim of testing advanced life support systems, repair and maintenance functions, and the refuelling capabilities necessary for sustaining a long-term human presence in space.


It also carries 14 science payloads, many of which were switched on at 18:41 Beijing time Thursday, following on-orbit diagnostic tests, according to the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).


One of these is POLAR, a gamma-ray detector involving collaboration between China, Switzerland and Poland that will study one of the most energetic events in the universe – Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs).
It is expected that POLAR will observe 10 GRBs every year that Tiangong-2 is in orbit, measuring the polarisation of the emissions in order to shed light on the causal mechanisms, with possibilities including massive stars collapsing into black holes and the merging of two neutron stars.


Above: POLAR being installed on Tiangong-2 (courtesy of Nicolas Produit).



Other experiments include composite material fabrication, advanced-plant cultivation, broadband imaging spectrometer, space-to-earth quantum key distribution - following on from China's Quantum Science Satellite launch in August - testing fluid physics in microgravity, a laser-cooled rubidium atomic clock, and a microwave altimeter to measure ocean levels and dynamics.


Many of the payloads were either developed or integrated by the National Space Science Centre (NSSC) in Beijing, which is also responsible for the country's space science missions and long-term strategy under CAS.


"Most of the scientific payload will be put into operation in the next 30 hours," said Guo Lili, director of the payload control center at the NSSC, told Xinhua. 


They expect to receive the first data from the payloads on September 24, with nearly 100 ground operators and related staff coordinating the operation.



Shenzhou-11 to dock with Tiangong-2



Above: Shenzhou-11 spacecraft undergoing tests in February 2016 (CCTV/Framegrab).



Tiangong-2 will next month be visited by the crewed Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, carrying two as-yet unnamed male astronauts. 


The crew's identity and the launch time have been kept secret by China, as is typical for its human spaceflight missions, but an article posted on by keen observers of the Chinese space program makes predictions for both the crew and launch schedule based on available.


Shenzhou-11 will be only the sixth Chinese crewed mission, but each has advanced the country’s experience and capabilities by leaps and bounds.


If all goes smoothly, Tiangong-2 will be visited by China’s first refuelling and cargo vessel, Tianzhou-1 in the first half of next year, launched on a Long March 7 rocket from the new Wenchang spaceport.


The Tiangong-2, Shenzhou-11, and Tianzhou-1 missions will bring China one step closer to the ultimate goal of its three-step human spaceflight programme, a large, permanently inhabited space station.


China began its human spaceflight programme in 1992, and became only the third country in 2003 to independently put astronauts in space, after the United States and Russia.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Batch production of Long March 5 underway



Batch production of Long March 5 has begun, said Meng Fanxin, manager of the industrialized base for the carrier rocket in Tianjin.


Known as the Long March 5, China's most powerful heavy-lift launch vehicle is expected to make its first test flight from Hainan's Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in November.


In the meantime, its manufacturing base in the northern port city of Tianjin is producing the second one.


"Right now, we possess the ability to batch produce rockets with diameter of both 3.35 meters and 5 meters," Meng said.


The base, which covers 2 million square meters and was built in 2008, is run by Tianjin Long March Launch Vehicle Manufacturing Co, a State-owned company that conducts research and development, manufacturing and assembly of China's latest carrier rockets.


"From structure to power, from material to technique, the manufacture of Long March 5 was a first for everything. Luckily, we have the best people," Meng said at a news conference last week.


"More than 100 people worked for half a year to make the rocket a reality. Creativity was the key to overcoming many difficulties along the journey," said Huang Xiaochun, vice director of the company's assembly workshop, who has been in the industry for 11 years.


"For example, the rocket was placed horizontally on a bracket in the workshop. Working on a round-shaped container at a height of 6 meters required more energy and greater safety measures, so we got creative and made a 'rotisserie'," Huang said.


"What that means is that the rocket was rotated so the technicians could work on the ground," Huang explained.


"The debut of Long March 5 marks Tianjin's next major step in the manufacturing of carrier rockets," Meng said.


"This first launch is the result of direct cooperation between the base, local private processing and Tianjin Sino-German University of Applied Sciences. Later, Tianjin University will also finance research for a new model," Meng said.


In the future, the base will not only manufacture the second model of Long March 5, Long March 7 and other rockets from the Long March family, such as CZ-3A, but will also conduct research and development of brand new models.




Scientific experiment apparatuses on Tiangong-2 put into operation



Scientific apparatus carried by Tiangong-2 began operational at around 6:41 p.m. Thursday Beijing Time after being on standby mode for nearly seven days since the space lab entered its preset orbit on Sept. 15.


"Most of the scientific payload will be put into operation in the next 30 hours," said Guo Lili, director with the payload operation and application center at the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


Nearly 100 ground operators, including staff from the operation and application center, payload developers and subscribers to related applications, are coordinating in the operation.


The space lab of Tiangong-2 will dock with the Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft later this year and the country's first cargo space ship Tianzhou-1 in 2017, according to experts.


Its predecessor Tiangong-1, which was launched in 2011 and docked with the Shenzhou-8, Shenzhou-9 and Shenzhou-10 spaceships, was mainly used to verify technology involved in space docking and serve as a simple platform for a number of scientific experiments, said Wu Ping, deputy director of China's manned space engineering office.


In comparison, Tiangong-2 hosts many more experiments and is taken as China's first space lab "in the strict sense."


Its payloads include POLAR, a collaboration between Swiss, Polish and Chinese institutions to study gamma ray bursts, and a cold atomic space clock, which scientists say only loses one second in about 30 million years.


Also piggybacking on the Tiangong-2 launch is a robotic arm that can be used for on-orbit repairs, and a micro satellite that will orbit close to the space lab and snap on to Tiangong-2 and the visiting Shenzhou-11 spacecraft crew.




China's space survival experiment goes on well



China's experiment in human living for space exploration is going smoothly, halfway into the project, the Astronaut Center of China (ACC) announced Tuesday.


Four volunteers started a 180-day experiment in June in a sealed space capsule, testing technology that will be used in deep-space exploration.

The experiment examines how oxygen, water and food can be used and reused in space.


The ACC has used Mars time with 24 hours and 40 minutes in a day in the experiment since Aug. 26.


Scientists are also examining the physiological changes and emotional fluctuations brought by a hermetic environment.


A total of 25 kinds of plants in the capsule as part of a larger ecological treatment system are also growing well.

The experiment will conclude on Dec. 13.




China space plane taking shape



New concept opens range of possibilities for high-speed commercial travel, tourism. Chinese space engineers will join hands to develop a next-generation craft with enormous business potential for commercial launches and space tourism, according to an industry conference.


As competition in the international aerospace field becomes increasingly fierce, Chinese space engineers have reached a consensus that the new craft is of great importance to China's aviation and space sectors, a statement released after the First China Combined-Cycle Aerospace Vehicle Development Forum in Beijing said on Tuesday.


The cutting-edge craft will have many opportunities in the government-backed space and business sectors, so Chinese researchers have decided to work together to develop the technology, it said.


More than 300 officials, business leaders and experts took part in the event hosted by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.


A combined-cycle aerospace vehicle is propelled by a combination of turbine, ramjet and rocket engines, space experts said.


The craft uses turbine engines, like those installed on jetliners, or rocket-based combined-cycle engines, when it takes off from a conventional runway.


After it reaches a certain speed, the ramjet will be activated to thrust the spacecraft into the stratosphere or to the next layer of the Earth's atmosphere, the mesosphere. At this point, rocket engines will be used to put the vehicle into orbit.


Engineers at the China Institute of Combined-Cycle Aerospace Vehicle Technology have started preliminary research on a reusable, combined-cycle space plane. Currently, they are working on key technologies for such craft, according to the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, which administers the institute.


A senior researcher at the institute, who wished to be identified only as Liu, said that the United States and Britain have studied combined-cycle propulsion for a long time and are working toward reusable space planes for commercial payload launches as well as space tourism.


"This kind of craft has several advantages - it has a low operational cost and high reliability, can conduct takeoffs and landings using a conventional airport and is suitable for performing scheduled flights as a passenger space plane," he said.


"The rapid growth in commercial satellite launch services and space tourism offers a promising market for the combined-cycle space plane," Liu said.

"Moreover, it can realize the aspiration of ultrafast air travel. Passengers will be able to get to anyplace on the globe within only several hours in the future."




World's largest radio telescope starts operating in China



The world's largest radio telescope began operating in southwestern China Sunday, a project which Beijing says will help humanity search for alien life.


The Five-hundred-metre Aperture Spherical Radio Telescope (FAST), nestled between hills in the mountainous region of Guizhou, began working around noon, the official Xinhua news agency reported.


Built at a cost of 1.2 billion yuan ($180 million), the telescope dwarfs the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico as the world's largest radio telescope, with a reflector as large as 30 football fields, it said.


FAST will explore space and search for signs of intelligent life, it added.


China sees its ambitious military-run, multi-billion-dollar space programme as symbolising the country's progress. It plans a permanent orbiting space station by 2020 and eventually a manned mission to the moon.


Earlier Xinhua cited Wu Xiangping, director-general of the Chinese Astronomical Society, as saying that the telescope's high degree of sensitivity "will help us to search for intelligent life outside of the galaxy".


Construction of FAST began in 2011, and local officials vowed in February to relocate nearly 10,000 people living within five kilometres to create a better environment for monitoring.


In the past China has relocated hundreds of thousands of people to make way for large infrastructure projects such as dams and canals.


The area surrounding the telescope is remote and relatively poor. Xinhua earlier said it was chosen because there are no major towns nearby.


Having problems loading images today. There is an extensive writeup and images over in this thread...


and this article...

Xinhua Insight: Installation complete on world's largest radio telescope




Teleportation, the next generation: Chinese and Canadian scientists closer to a quantum internet



Chinese and Canadian scientists say they have successfully carried out a form of teleportation across an entire city.

The two teams working independently have teleported near-identical versions of tiny particles called photons through cables across Calgary in Canada and Hefei in Anhui province.

The forms of teleported photons were destroyed in one laboratory and recreated in another more than 8km apart in the two cities through optical fibre.

Similar experiments have been carried out before, but only within the same laboratory.

A physicist not involved in either of the studies said the research was a step forward in the development of a “quantum internet”, a futuristic particle-based information system that could be much more secure than existing forms of digital data.

Quantum networks make eavesdropping almost impossible because the particles used cannot be observed without being altered.


In his commentary on the research in the scientific journal Nature Photonics, French physicist Frederic Grosshans said the two experiments clearly showed that teleportation across metropolitan distances was technologically feasible.

“The two papers demonstrate that the possibility of quantum [internet] networks that span a city are a realistic proposition, which is an exciting vision for the future,” Grosshans said.


The Canadian team led by Professor Wolfgang Tittel also teleported the particles over 8.2km. The teleported photons were a virtual copy of the original.


Information from IAC 2016 is available but I will have to post later...having site posting issues..."curses"



Link to post
Share on other sites

Having posting issues...tweets from IAC 2016...real cool stuff happening this year....



















  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Busy bees these guys, it's hard to agree on how they handle their domestic affairs from time to time... but the noses sure are in the same direction and for the long term as well when it comes to space exploration. Wow.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

National Space Agency Leaders Outline Programs, Progress and Future Plans at Head of Agencies Panel



China National Space Administration Vice Administrator Wu Yunhua.   IAF



The 67th International Astronautical Congress held last week in Guadalajara, Mexico was an opportunity for world space agency leaders to publicly share in a moderated panel the progress of their national programs and answer questions from the public.


This years panelists included:

- Sylvain Laporte of the Canadian Space Agency
- Charles Bolden of NASA
- Igor Komarov of ROSCOSMOS
- S. Somanath of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
- Naoki Okumura of JAXA
- Johann-Dietrich Woerner of the European Space Agency
- Wu Yanhua the China National Space Agency


The plenary was moderated by John Horack, Professor and Neil Armstrong Chair, The Ohio State University, College of Engineering, and Minoo Rathnasabapathy, Executive Director of the Space Generation Advisory Council.



Wu Yanhua, China National Space Agency 

- 14 launches this year to date, planned to do 26.
- New generation Long March 5 to be launched by beginning of November.
- Human space flight of Shenzhou 11 mission will start in October.
- Chinese resupply Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to be launched and dock with the newly launched Tiangong-2 space station.
- Lunar mission launched by end of next year for sample return, Chang'e 5. Then in 2018
they may go to the far side of the moon with Chang'e-6 .
- Planning on launching a relay satellite to L2 to the moon to communicate with earth. 
- Mars budget approved for Mars rover, lander and orbiter.
- Will launch 100 satellites in the next 10 years, with 50 of those being remote sensing satellites.
- 3rd version of white paper, space policy to be released later this year with collaboration highlighted.
- Reiterates China's willingness for collaboration on missions. (recurring theme).
- Studying possible uses moon and Mars resources, space-based solar power generation (recharging) station in space for exploration.

more at the link...full video covering these points also...




China developing mission to return samples from far side of the moon



Illustration of the far side of the moon, with Earth in the background. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio



If China’s lunar exploration program goes according to plan, scientists could send a robotic lander to pick up samples from the far side of the moon and return them to Earth by the early 2020s, a top Chinese space official said.


China is developing a pair of identical sample return craft to fly to the moon to bring back the first lunar samples since 1976.


The first of the sampling probes, Chang’e 5, will launch by the end of next year and attempt a landing at an unspecified location on the near side of the moon. Chinese engineers are simultaneously building parts for a backup mission named Chang’e 6, according to Wu Yanhua, vice administrator of the China National Space Administration.


If next year’s mission successfully brings lunar soil samples back to Earth, the Chang’e 6 mission could be directed to a destination on the far side of the moon, Wu said this week at the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.


“Based on the success of the Chang’e 5 sample return mission, the Chang’e 6, which is a redundancy, we’ll decide on its next step, whether it’s to be on the near or the far side of the moon for a sample return mission,” Wu said Monday.


No mission has ever landed on the far side of the moon before, let alone return samples.


China has built robotic lunar missions in pairs to have a backup spacecraft nearly ready for launch in case the first one fails.


The country’s first lunar probe, Chang’e 1, went into orbit around the moon in 2007. The nearly identical Chang’e 2 spacecraft launched in 2010 to survey the moon from orbit, before escaping into solar system and conducting China’s first flyby of an asteroid.


China’s most recent lunar mission was Chang’e 3, which touched down in the moon’s Mare Imbrium region in December 2013 with a stationary landing platform and a mobile rover. Its sister craft, Chang’e 4, is supposed to launch in 2018, aiming for the first controlled landing on the far side of the moon.


All human and robotic lunar landings to date have explored the face of the moon visible from Earth, but scientists are eager to gain close-up observations of the lunar far side, the moon’s more rugged and heavily cratered hemisphere.


Wu said the Chang’e 4 launch will be preceded by liftoff of a specialized signals relay satellite to be positioned at the Earth-moon L2 Lagrange point, a gravitationally stable location where the communications platform will constantly loiter over the far side of the moon.


The telecom relay craft is required to bounce commands and scientific data between Chang’e 4 and ground stations on Earth once the probe lands.

more at the link...




China plans world’s biggest spaceplane to carry 20 tourists



Happy landings: the spaceplane should be able to take off and land up to 50 times
Mr Pengxin Han et al. from CALT



Even China can’t resist the lure of space tourism. A state-backed firm is developing a gigantic spaceplane, New Scientist can reveal. The plane may one day fly up to 20 passengers to the edge of space – significantly more people than any other commercial spaceflight firm has pledged to fly to date.


The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology in Beijing has designed a simple, one-piece spaceplane whose design can be scaled up to carry more people, academy rocket scientist Lui Haiquang told the International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, last week.


The academy will have plenty of competition. Big names include Virgin Galactic, whose SpaceShipTwo spaceplane will offer six passengers trips to near-space, and XCOR, whose proposed Lynx vehicle will fly a single passenger seated beside a pilot. Blue Origin’s suborbital space capsule, New Shepard, aims to carry six tourists. But academy team leader Han Pengxin and his colleagues believe consumer demand will be high enough to build a much higher capacity spacecraft.


“More and more common persons are interested in the experience of space flight,” the team wrote in their IAC2016 paper, adding that the project is “very attractive” to “bosses and businessmen”.


They have designed a winged rocket that takes off under its own power. That sets it apart from SpaceShipTwo, which must be carried to high altitude by an aircraft before firing its own rocket.



Plane sailing? The Chinese winged rocket will be able to carry 20 passengers
Mr Pengxin Han et al. from CALT



“The vehicle will take off vertically like a rocket and land on the runway automatically without any ground or on-board intervention,” Han says. It will burn liquid methane and liquid oxygen.


Han’s team has designed two versions of their rocket plane. The first has a mass of 10 tonnes and a wingspan of 6 metres. This one, he says, should be able to fly five people to an altitude of 100 kilometres – where space officially begins – at speeds up to Mach 6, giving 2 minutes of weightlessness.


But a scaled up 100-tonne version, with a 12-metre wingspan, could fly 20 people to 130 kilometres at Mach 8, giving 4 minutes of weightlessness. That larger spacecraft is fast enough to help deliver small satellites into orbit, with the help of a small rocket stage add-on that would sit on top of the vehicle. And that payload-carrying capability will reduce tourist ticket prices, says Han. They also intend to make it reusable, so each plane should be good for up to 50 flights.


Test flights soon

Tests are advanced, Han adds. “The test flights will be finished in the next two years, because almost all of the ground tests have been finished and all the subsystems of the test vehicle worked very well.”


He imagines flights will launch from a commercial spaceport – whose location is as yet undecided – with payload launches in 2020. The plane will carry people when it is considered safe enough.


Han predicts that a ride will cost between $200,000 and $250,000.


Some are sceptical of the team’s claims. The spaceplane is an “interesting initiative”, says spaceflight expert Roger Launius at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC, but he’s concerned about the lack of technical details in their four-page IAC paper.


“The most unusual part is the belief that they can send up to 20 people to 100 kilometres and more on a rocket without a mother ship and no staging, reusing it some 50 times,” he says. “It’s not explained how that will be accomplished. And the fact that they think they can test fly in the next 2 years is remarkable.”


So the onus is on the academy to prove this is more than a paper spaceplane, says Launius. “It is always easier to draw illustrations and talk possibilities than to build and fly spacecraft.


Others are more charitable. Outlandish as a 20-person spaceplane sounds, said a delegate at the IAC, who preferred to remain anonymous, the Beijing team’s aims are not impossible. “From an engineering standpoint, all the spaceflight operations the Chinese team suggest have been proven before. Whether they can do it safely, however, and make a viable suborbital business out if it, is another question.”



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By zikalify
      OneWeb to help bolster the Canadian military's connectivity
      by Paul Hill

      The satellite company OneWeb has announced a partnership with ROCK Networks, an end-to-end communications systems firm that has a particular focus on wireless and broadband solutions. As a result of the deal, the communications utilised by the Canadian Armed Forces in the Arctic region will become more reliable.

      OneWeb is occasionally featured in This Week in Rocket Launches because it operates a satellite constellation that can beam the internet back down to Earth. It formed a partnership with SatixFy a few months ago to deliver Wi-Fi to planes and now its technology will help ROCK Networks deliver more reliable connectivity to its customers including the Canadian government.

      Discussing the agreement, Dylan Browne, Head of Government Services at OneWeb, said:

      With the agreement in place, OneWeb will start providing service across all of Canada’s provinces and territories from November. While it waits, ROCK Networks will be training staff and onboarding customer support tools to connect to OneWeb’s Points of Presence (PoPs) in Calgary and Toronto.

    • By zikalify
      Rocket Lab to launch more BlackSky satellites in new deal
      by Paul Hill

      Rocket Lab has announced that it has signed a deal with BlackSky to launch nine of the latter’s satellites across five Electron missions after the successful launch of a BlackSky satellite by Rocket Lab earlier this week. The satellites will be taken into low Earth orbit where they will help deliver real-time geospatial intelligence and global monitoring services.

      Commenting on the deal, Rocket Lab Founder and CEO Peter Beck said:

      According to the announcement, this deal is the largest number of satellites that BlackSky has committed to a single launch provider. Under the arrangement, eight of BlackSky’s 130kg satellites will be launched on four missions throughout the year and will demonstrate Rocket Lab’s responsive launch capability. The agreement also includes options for two additional launches in the fourth quarter.

      The year is shaping up to be an important one for Rocket Lab. At the start of the month, it announced a merger with Vector Acquisition Corporation which will see the firm become a publicly-traded company and appear as RKLB on the Nasdaq. This year, the company also has a launch lined up for the U.S. Space Force and it will be sending a mission to the Moon for NASA.

    • By zikalify
      OneWeb and SatixFy to bring satellite Wi-Fi to planes
      by Paul Hill

      The satellite company OneWeb, which was acquired by the UK government last July, is working with the multibeam antenna firm SatixFy to develop new In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) terminal technology that will use OneWeb’s satellite constellation to deliver broadband-comparable speeds on aeroplanes.

      According to the announcement put out by OneWeb, the new IFC terminal will work over OneWeb’s constellation as well as on Geostationary (GEO) satellite networks. To help bring IFC terminals to Commercial Aviation Markets, SatixFy has formed a joint venture with Singapore Technology Engineering Ltd that’s known as JetTalk.

      Commenting on the news, Ben Griffin, VP Mobility at OneWeb, said:

      According to the European Space Agency, which has contributed towards SatixFy’s terminal implementation, OneWeb currently operates 110 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites but in future plans to expand this to around 650. The terminals will use electronically steered multi-beam antenna (ESMA) technology to allow them to operate at the same time between several different satellites.

      None of those involved in the project gave an estimate of when the commercial products will finally make their way into aircraft but the work to develop the technology and commercialise it is well underway.

    • By zikalify
      TWIRL 3: Rocket Lab to attempt launch of delayed mission
      by Paul Hill

      Last week was quite good for SpaceX with it almost successfully landing its Starship rocket during a test, unfortunately, it caught fire and exploded on the pad. Rocket Lab also had to delay its “They Go Up So Fast” mission which we covered in This Week in Rocket Launches #2 but will make another go of it this week.

      Aside from Rocket Lab’s mission to put several satellites into orbit, there will be two SpaceX launches carrying more satellites for the Starlink constellation as well as a Chinese mission carrying an experimental satellite called Xin Jishu Yanzheng 6 which replaces a satellite that was lost last year.

      Rocket Lab’s launch will be performed by one of its Electron rockets, it will carry the Blacksky Global satellite and several CubeSats named Centauri 3, Gunsmoke-J, M2 (A/B), Myriota 7, and Veery Hatchling. Electron rockets are very light, weighing in at just 12,500 kg; this is probably where the inspiration for the name of the mission came from. The launch will be live-streamed on the company’s website on or around Wednesday if the launch goes ahead.

      On Wednesday and Saturday, SpaceX will launch Falcon 9 rockets, both carrying 60 Starlink satellites. Internally, the missions are known as Starlink V1.0-L20 and Starlink V1.0-L21 respectively and the total payload mass weighs in at 15.6 tonnes with each satellite weighing 260 kg. There are 1141 Starlink satellites in orbit but the firm plans to orbit nearer 10,000 satellites eventually before ramping the number up above 30,000 so we’ll see these launches for a long time. To watch these launches, check out SpaceX’s YouTube channel which will carry recordings if you miss the live events.

      Before SpaceX’s second launch, China will send up its Long March CZ-7A carrying the Xin Jishu Yanzheng 6 satellite. The satellite is experimental and a part of a series of demonstration missions being carried out by the Chinese National Space Administration (CNSA). As is typical with Chinese launches, video and photos of the launch will appear online following the launch but there likely will be no live stream.

      There are plenty more rocket launches every week for the remainder of the month so be sure to look out for next week’s This Week in Rocket Launches (TWIRL).

    • By zikalify
      Rocket Lab releases plans for reusable Neutron rocket
      by Paul Hill

      Rocket Lab, one of the many private space firms, has revealed plans for a new reusable rocket called Neutron. The firm said that the 8-ton payload launch vehicle will deploy satellite constellations, go to other planets and take humans into space.

      If you’ve been following Neowin’s new This Week in Rocket Launches (TWIRL) series, you’ll know that Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket already delivers satellites into space. While Electron is limited to launching 300 kg satellites, the new rocket will be able to lift 8,000 kg to low-Earth orbit, 2,000 kg to the Moon, and 1,500 kg to Mars and Venus.

      Speaking about the announcement, Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck said:

      Much like SpaceX has been doing with its rockets, Neutron’s first of two stages will be designed to land on an ocean platform, this will allow the company to lower costs for customers and get more launches done. Rocket Lab expects to perform Neutron launches from Virginia’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at the NASA Wallops Flight Facility. Launching from this facility will eliminate the need for Rocket Lab to build a new pad which will accelerate the time to launch.

      The firm said it expects to begin launches of Neutron rockets from 2024 and is looking for sites across America to build a new factory that will support the manufacture of the Neutron rocket and create hundreds of jobs.