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Draggendrop

China to launch pioneering pulsar navigation satellite in November

 

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China is already well on the way to establishing its own version of America's GPS network with its Beidou satellite constellation, but now it is seeking to take navigation and timing to stellar levels. 

 

In November China will launch the X-ray pulsar navigation satellite - XPNAV-1 - a satellite that will conduct the world's first test of the possibilities of using the regular emission of X-ray signals from pulsars for spacecraft navigation.

 

The spacecraft will attempt to triangulate its position relative to the Sun using the highly regular emissions from pulsars.

 

If successful, this could dramatically cut the reliance of craft in deep space on the huge ground-based communications networks currently in use, such as the Deep Space Network (DSN) and the European Space Tracking (ESTRACK) network, and avoid the related time-delay issues.

 

The China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a major research and development institute for China's state-led space program, announced the news on October 8 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Chinese aerospace development.

 

xpnav-1-cast-render.png

xpnav-1-cast-render.png

 

Above: A rendering of China's XPNAV-1 satellite (CAST).

 

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Discovered in 1967, pulsars are former large stars that have collapsed down into incredibly dense rotating spheres a matter of kilometres in diameter.

 

If the electromagnetic radiation emitted from two opposite points of these spinning 'neutron stars' sweep past Earth, they appear to pulse, giving them their name, and the reason they are sometimes referred to as celestial 'lighthouses'.

 

The highly-energetic and regular pulses of photons allow a device sensitive enough for miniaturisation for use on spacecraft.

 

Shuai Ping, chief scientist behind the research of XPNAV-1 satellite, told People's Daily that the key aim of the satellite is to detect the details of X-ray signals of 26 relatively close pulsars, and to create a "pulsar navigation database."

 

If launch is successful, XPNAV-1 will undercut a NASA mission by a number of months to be the first such test. 

 

In early 2017, NASA plans to launch the Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation Technology (SEXTANT) as part of its Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mision to the International Space Station to demonstrate pulsar-based navigation of spacecraft.

http://gbtimes.com/china/china-launch-pioneering-pulsar-navigation-satellite-november

 

 

 

 

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China's record-breaking year

 

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It was not announced which launch centre or Long March booster rocket would carry out the mission. 

 

China has a busy launch schedule in the final months of the year, with the country aiming for a national record of more than 20 orbital missions.

 

Next week will see the launch of the Shenzhou-11 crewed mission, with the debut of the heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket from Wenchang in November. 

 

The Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope (HXMT) will also launch in November from Jiuquan as part of China's growing space science ambitions.

There have so far been 14 Chinese missions, including one failure, with a possible 12 more to follow.

 

Major missions include the Tiangong-2 space lab, the world's first quantum science satellite and the debut of the new generation Long March 7 rocket.

http://gbtimes.com/china/china-launch-pioneering-pulsar-navigation-satellite-november

 

 

 

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Closing windows on Shenzhou 11

 

china-shenzhou-11-fab-processing-lg.jpg

Shenzhou-11 capsule during recent pre-launch processing.

 

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China's Shenzhou 11 spacecraft will carry two astronauts to the Tiangong 2 space laboratory this month. Exactly when this will happen is yet to be confirmed by the Chinese themselves.

 

At the time of writing, we are roughly a third of the way through October, and China hasn't discussed any recent progress on the launch.

 

A few crumbs of information have been supplied, such as the improved in-flight menu, but we don't know anything about the rollout of the Long March 2F rocket that will launch the mission.

 

If China wants to launch in October, then the passing of time is gradually closing the launch window for Shenzhou 11.

 

We will probably get some minor reports when the rocket is finally rolled out to the launchpad. That will be a clue that China plans to launch in a matter of days. But launch opportunities to dock with Tiangong 2 are frequent.

 

China can afford to slip a few days if the weather is unfavourable at the launch site, or if the rocket requires some last-minute technical checks. China presumably has a targeted launch date at this time, but it is possibly not set with total rigidity.

 

We will probably learn more in the next week. But if we don't, it's a sign that China is targeting a launch date closer to the end of the month. It could also indicate that the launch has slipped beyond October, possibly due to technical reasons.

 

All things considered, a major delay to the launch seems unlikely.

 

There are still no indications about the crew. We have known for a long time that there will be two astronauts aboard Shenzhou 11. They will both be men. We can guess that one will be a veteran astronaut, but it's still not clear if this is really the case.

 

Shenzhou 11 itself is essentially a standard mass-production Shenzhou spacecraft with a docking system, similar to every Shenzhou spacecraft launched since Shenzhou 8.

 

We would really like to know more right now. As usual, we have to wait for more information, just as we have to wait for the launch itself.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Closing_windows_on_Shenzhou_11_999.html

 

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CHINA’S PRIVATE SPACE INDUSTRY PREPARES TO COMPETE WITH SPACEX AND BLUE ORIGIN

 

kz11_expace.jpg?itok=_DY_LLEa&fc=50,50

kz11_expace.jpg

 

Kuaizhou 11
Kuazhiou 11, the larger of Expace's launch rockets, is geared towards launch demand for cheaper, smaller satellite constellations. While the first customers are Chinese, foreign customers are eventually likely to sign up for cheap prices and fast turnaround.

 

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In the US, much of the recent media attention to space travel is centered on the activities of flamboyant billionaires and private companies. Left out, though, is the fact that, like in much of the rest of global business, a new generation of Chinese commercial and tourist space endeavors are looking to compete as well.

 

kz-1a_expace.jpg?itok=rdPeZiA7&fc=50,50

kz-1a_expace.jpg

 

KZ-1
Kuaizhou, the smaller of Expace rockets, can carry a 200 kg payload to sun-synchronous orbit, making it ideal for launching clusters of microsatellites such as Cubesats.

 

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One of the more intriguing of China's emerging commercial space launch companies is Expace. Founded in February, the firm will be the lead tenant of China's first commercial space industrial park in Wuhan, China. It has already signed up over 10 launches for its solid fueled Kuaizhou Rockets.

 

Zhang Di, Expace's chairman, is also a Deputy Director of the Fourth Academy of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), which makes the Kuaizhou rockets.


The Kuaizhou, which is derived from the launch vehicle for Chinese anti-satellite weapons and midcourse missile defense interceptors, is a solid-fueled, 2 diameter rocket; the latest KZ-11 can loft a 1.5 ton payload to low Earth orbit at a launch cost of $10,000 per kg. Expace's target market is to launch small satellites for domestic and foreign customers; the solid fuel of the KZ-11 also means that compared to liquid fueled rockets, it can be launched on demand.

 

kuangchi_cloud.jpg?itok=1jdZXP8D&fc=50,5

kuangchi_cloud.jpg

 

Kuangchi
The Kuang Chi Group's $1.5 billion investment into sci fi tourism includes this high altitude balloon to carry manned Traveller capsules, as well as personal jumpjets, solar-powered planes and blimps.

 

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As a part of its $1.5 billion investment in futuristic tourism and a space theme park, the Kuang Chi Group is looking to give tourists the high life; a 3-hour flight in a "Cloud" high altitude balloon that starts at the exo-atmopshere, 24 kilometers above the ground. The tourists will be seated in a space capsule inspired "Traveler" cabin, which dangles daringly out from under the airship.

 

The Kuang Chi Cloud balloon could be related to China's giant high altitude Yuanmeng airship, which first flew in October 2015. Both the Yuanmeng and Cloud have more serious applications as well. They can take on roles like persistent wide area sensor coverage for missions from natural disaster relief to missile defense; the high altitude of these airships could also make them communications nodes in case satellite networks fail.

http://www.popsci.com/chinas-private-space-industry-booms-prepares-to-compete-with-spacex-and-blue-origin

 

:)

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Draggendrop

Launch Schedule

 

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Oct. 16  Long March 2F • Shenzhou 11
Launch time: Approx. 2330 GMT (7:30 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: Jiuquan, China
A Chinese Long March 2F rocket will launch the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, a crewed mission to dock with the orbiting Tiangong 2 laboratory module. The flight is China’s sixth human space mission. Delayed from mid-2016. [Oct. 11]

http://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/

 

China gears up for record-setting Shenzhou-11 Mission after Secretive Launch Campaign

 

093054jyo8qge9z6o9yu55-689x1024.jpg

Photo: Weibo via 9ifly.cn

 

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China is on the eve of launching its sixth crewed space mission to the recently-launched Tiangong-2 space laboratory, but – just over 24 hours from the expected launch time – the two crew members’ identities remain to be revealed.

 

Navigational warnings show the launch of the Long March 2F rocket carrying the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft will take place around 23:30 UTC on Sunday from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, a launch time supported by the orbital geometry between the Shenzhou spacecraft and Tiangong-2 space station module.

 

While China usually keeps its space flight endeavors under close wraps, the country’s crewed space program was the notable exception with regular updates provided through state media outlets.

 

However, that seems to be different for this mission with official information on the crew’s identities, the exact launch time and flight plan not expected to be revealed until the pre-launch press conference the day before launch (~2:30 UTC on Sunday).

 

Shenzhou-11 will be the only crewed visit to the Tiangong-2 space laboratory – China’s second space station laboratory sent into orbit last month to build on lessons learned in the Tiangong-1 project that saw two crewed visits to the miniature Space Station in 2012/13.

 

Tiangong-2 was built with threefold objectives in mind – a) continuing to advance China’s human spaceflight capabilities, b) demonstrating a cargo mission and in-space propellant transfer in preparation for future Space Station development, and c) serving as an orbital experiment platform hosting Earth and Space-Science instruments.

 

Tiangong-2 – around 10.4 meters long and 3.35 meters in diameter – lifted off on September 15 atop a Long March 2F and enjoyed a flawless ascent to Low Earth Orbit. In the days after launch, Tiangong-2 fired its own engines to raise its orbit to over 380 Kilometers where it is now waiting for Shenzhou-11. The external and internal science payloads were activated for checkouts one week after launch, but most external experiments will be powered off for the crew’s stay.

More at the link...

http://spaceflight101.com/china-gears-up-for-record-setting-shenzhou-11-mission/

 

 

TG-2-07-512x413.jpg

Image: China Manned Space Engineering Office

 

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Station Trackers...    
TIANGONG-2

TIANGONG 1

 

:D

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Draggendrop

CHINA'S HYBRID SPACEPLANE COULD RESET THE 21ST CENTURY SPACE RACE

 

chinese_hypersonic_spaceplane.jpg

CCTV 13
Chinese Hypersonic Spaceplane
This screenshot from state television broadcast on the hypersonic spaceplane shows an aerodynamically optimized aircraft beginning to accelerate to hypersonic speeds. Operating such a spaceplane by 2030 would place China ahead of the space race, and other races.

 

 

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The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation is beginning advanced research on a high tech, more efficient successor to the retired Space Shuttle, with hybrid combined cycle engines that can takeoff from an airport's landing strip and fly straight into orbit.

 

The hybrid space plane's combined cycle engines would use turbofan or turbojet engines to takeoff horizontally from a landing strip. Once airborne, the engine then shifts to ramjet propulsion and, as speed increases, adjusts into a scramjet engine with supersonic airflow.

 

At the scramjet stage, the hybrid spaceplane would enter hypersonic flight in 'near space', the part of the atmosphere between 20km to 100km above sea level. Finally, the hybrid spaceplane would use its rocket motors to push out of near space and into orbit.


Broadcasts by both state television broadcaster CCTV, and its English service, note that the CASTC spaceplane's easy reusability would exponentially bring down space launch costs.

 

chinese_combined_cycle_engine.jpg

shinobiyan at cjdby.net
Combined Cycle Engine
The combined cycle engine shares the same inlet and exhaust nozzle for both the turbojet/turbofan and ramjet. In the upper diagram, the air intake ramps behind the ramjet spike direct airflow into the turbo core. In the bottom diagram, the air intake ramps gradually block off air flow to the turbo core, redirecting air into the ramjet combustion engine for high supersonic (Mach 3.0-Mach 4.0). Chinese combined cycle engines like this blueprint would be paired with a scramjet (presumably via changing the ramjet) and a separate rocket motor to create a hypersonic space plane.

 

 

 

skylon_space_plane.jpg

Reaction Engines Limited
Skylon
While the Skylon and the Chinese hypersonic space plane are both powered by combined cycle air breathing engines and rocket motors, the British Skylon uses pre-cooled jet engines built by Reaction Engines Limited to achieve hypersonic atmospheric flight, as opposed to scramjets. Both spacecraft will probably first fly around the mid 2020s.

 

 

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Zhang Yong, a CASTC engineer, claimed that China will master the spaceplane's technologies in the next three to five years, and a full-scale spaceplane would then enter service by 2030.


Interestingly, another CASTC engineer, Yang Yang, mentioned that the spaceplane would improve "ease of access to space for untrained persons," as the space plane would have more gradual acceleration than a space launch rocket (reducing the physical strain on astronauts during takeoff), suggesting a version of the spaceplane which could be used for space tourism.

 

 

hypersonic_testbed.jpg

Bai Wei via lt.cjdby.net
The Missing Drone
China was rumored to make the first flight of a Mach 4+ test drone in September 2015. Launched from an H-6 carrier aircraft, the drone fired up its combined cycle turbo-ramjet engine to accelerate from subsonic to high supersonic speeds. Given CASTC confidence in applying preexisting aeronautical experiments to build a working prototype by 2021, it seems that the September 2015 flight was for real.

 

 

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Getting the complex technologies, like the combined cycle ramjet/turbo engine, in the reported timeline is an extremely ambitious target. Yet China is actually a world leader in a number of the key technologies for the project.

 

In 2015, Professor Wang Zhengou was awarded the Feng Ru prize (China's top aeronautical medal) for his work in successfully developing and flying a scramjet engine, making China the second nation in the world after the United States to master scramjet technology. CASTC's rapid research timeline also suggests that the reports in 2015 of a Mach 4 test flight for a recoverable drone testbed for a combined cycle ramjet/turbofan engine were accurate.

 

And China also has the world's largest hypersonic wind tunnel, the Mach 9 JF-12, which could be used to easily test hypersonic scramjets without costly and potentially dangerous flight testing at altitude.


China already has a variety of advanced solid-and liquid-fuelled space rockets and even China's historical weakness in turbine engines may not be a problem (the proven WS-10 turbofan is likely to provide enough thrust for the combined cycle engine's ramjet to take over). For CASTC, the biggest challenge may be in integrating all these components into a single propulsion package, as well as building an airframe light and strong enough to resist the rigors of hypersonic flight and atmospheric reentry

 

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Coming on the heels of other Chinese space advances, including the successful tests of a 3 meter diameter solid rocket booster, and the fuel turbopump for the LM-9 superheavy rocket, the present attention given to such a longterm project is notable.

 

The high profile broadcast of Chinese breakthroughs in space technologies suggests that, in addition to boosting Chinese prestige, the Chinese leadership is looking to raise public awareness and support to justify costly investments in next generation space technology like hybrid spaceplanes and super heavy "Moon" rockets. Getting the first mover advantage in these aerospace milestones would definitely give China superpower status in both Earth and space.

http://www.popsci.com/chinas-hybrid-spaceplane-could-reset-21st-century-space-race

 

:)

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Draggendrop

Ed the Sock.jpg

 

There's that smell of "rocket fuel" wiffing around.....:D

 

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Oct. 16  Long March 2F • Shenzhou 11
Launch time: Approx. 2330 GMT (7:30 p.m. EDT)
Launch site: Jiuquan, China
A Chinese Long March 2F rocket will launch the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft, a crewed mission to dock with the orbiting Tiangong 2 laboratory module. The flight is China’s sixth human space mission. Delayed from mid-2016. [Oct. 11]

http://spaceflightnow.com/launch-schedule/

 

The launch can be viewed at this link...

 

Live coverage: China counting down to launch of Shenzhou crew

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/10/16/shenzhou-11-mission-status-center/

 

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Chinese spacecraft poised for launch with two astronauts

 

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Astronauts Jing Haipeng (left) and Chen Dong (right) will fly in space for 33 days aboard Shenzhou 11. They were introduced to the media early Sunday. Credit: Xinhua

 

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China is gearing up to launch two astronauts on a month-long expedition to the country’s new orbiting space lab module Sunday.

 

Officials lifted a news blackout on the Shenzhou 11 mission Saturday, revealing the identities of the astronauts and announcing the space capsule is set for liftoff from the Jiuquan space center at 2330 GMT (7:30 p.m. EDT) Sunday to kick off China’s sixth piloted spaceflight.

 

The Shenzhou 11 capsule is awaiting blastoff on top of a Long March 2F rocket, and Chinese technicians were scheduled to begin fueling the launcher late Saturday.

 

The launch is timed for 7:30 a.m. Beijing time Monday, when the orbital path of China’s Tiangong 2 space lab passes over Jiuquan, a military-run space center in northwestern China’s Inner Mongolia region, a sparsely-populated stretch of the Gobi desert.

 

Assuming a smooth ascent into orbit Sunday, the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft should complete an automated docking with Tiangong 2 some time Tuesday, beginning a 30-day stay aboard the research module by commander Jing Haipeng and flight engineer Chen Dong.

 

Counting the transit times between Earth and Tiangong 2, the flight should last 33 days.

 

That is more than twice as long as China’s longest piloted spaceflight to date, the 14-day Shenzhou 10 mission in June 2013, which was also the country’s last crewed space mission.

 

Jing is making his third trip into orbit after flying on the Shenzhou 7 and 9 missions in 2008 and 2012, logging more than 15 days in space. The Chinese military pilot will turn 50 during the Shenzhou 11 flight and become China’s most experienced astronaut by the time he lands.

 

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Once Shenzhou 11 links up with Tiangong 2, the two spacecraft will form a complex more than 60 feet (18 meters) long, a miniature space station that will provide living quarters, life support and experiments for the astronauts.

 

A small microsatellite named Banxing 2 stowed aboard Tiangong 2 will fly near the space lab in orbit and collect exterior imagery. Built by the Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology, Banxing 2 will loiter near Tiangong 2 using an ammonia propulsion system for fine maneuvers while a 25-megapixel camera takes pictures of Shenzhou 11’s docking with the space lab.

 

Tiangong 2 is China’s second human-rated research module, following the similar Tiangong 1 spacecraft launched in 2011. The new spacecraft features several upgrades, including a robotic arm and refueling systems to test out procedures for China’s planned space station, which is due to be operational by 2022.

 

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She said Tiangong 2 is ready for docking with Shenzhou 11 after raising its orbit to the planned link-up altitude of 244 miles (393 kilometers).

Medical researchers plan to monitor how the crew’s bodies respond to microgravity after a month in orbit.

 

“With the increase of the flight time, the adverse effects of the weightless environment in space on the human body will be significant, especially the decay of the cardiovascular function will be more prominent, and there will be a certain degree of muscle atrophy and bone loss.”

 

Wu said the technical parameters of the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft are nearly identical to previous Shenzhou missions, but ground teams improved techniques for loading cargo into the capsule to fit more supplies for the longer-duration flight.

 

Chinese engineers designed exercise equipment — a bicycle ergometer and treadmill — to put inside Tiangong 2 to help the astronauts counteract the effects of zero gravity, Wu said.

 

A new wide-band communications system will help the astronauts stay in touch with ground controllers and their families with voice connections, video links and data transmissions.

 

“For instance, on this flight the astronauts will conduct an ultrasound inspection, and the ground can inspect the astronauts’ cardio-pulmoanry function in real-time,” Wu said. “They will also participate in many science experiments, such as the replacement of space material production samples, and carry out space plant cultivation experiments.

 

“They are also going to carry out typical on-orbit repair experiments and verify the synergy of humans and machines,” Wu said.

 

After the departure of the Shenzhou 11 crew in November, Chinese engineers will launch a robotic resupply and refueling freighter to dock with Tiangong 2 in April 2017. Named Tianzhou 1, the cargo carrier will blast off on China’s Long March 7 rocket, which made its maiden test flight in June.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/10/16/chinese-spacecraft-poised-for-launch-with-two-astronauts/

 

Tiangong-2 Space Laboratory

http://spaceflight101.com/tiangong-2/tiangong-2/

 

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:D

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Jim K
On 10/4/2016 at 1:09 AM, Draggendrop said:

China plans world’s biggest spaceplane to carry 20 tourists

 

unknown-2-800x533.jpg

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

 

 

unknown-3-800x533.jpg

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

 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2107802-china-plans-worlds-biggest-spaceplane-to-carry-20-tourists/

 

:)

In your post ...

 

"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.”

 

yep ... I have serious doubts on this plan(e).  Will be cool if they can pull it off ... buuuut ... yea ... probably needs more fuel for the bang even if it isn't going orbital.

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1 minute ago, jjkusaf said:

In your post ...

 

"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.”

 

yep ... I have serious doubts on this plan(e).  Will be cool if they can pull it off ... buuuut ... yea ... probably needs more fuel for the bang even if it isn't going orbital.

They will be using a triple staged propulsion system. They also have the world's largest Mach 9 wind tunnel to "prove all designs" on the ground with a rapid turn around time. The fuel allotments will depend on the engine designs and staging, which is their proprietary knowledge.

 

The Chinese engineering team is world class and leaders in many fields. If someone can pull this off, I think they have a real chance.

 

:)

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:)

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Trackers...

TIANGONG-2

 

TIANGONG 1

 

ISS

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Live coverage: China counting down to launch of Shenzhou crew

 

Quote

19:02
Some statistics on today's launch:

13th launch of a Long March 2F rocket

11th Shenzhou mission

6th human spaceflight launched by China

3rd spaceflight by Jing Haipeng

1st spaceflight by Chen Dong

15th Chinese space launch of 2016

 

18:59
The rotating gantry at the launch pad is opening to reveal the lower portion of the Long March 2F rocket, which includes the first stage and four liquid-fueled boosters. 

The launch site is at the Jiuquan satellite launching center in China's Inner Mongolia autonomous region in the northwest section of the country. The Jiuquan base is located in the Gobi desert.

Fully loaded with propellant, the Long March 2F rocket stands 191 feet tall and weighs about 1.1 million pounds. The rocket generates more than 1.4 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.

 

18:49 
During the final hour of the countdown, the launch team and astronauts will verify the pressure integrity of the capsule's cabin and the spacesuits, and conduct communications checks.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/10/16/shenzhou-11-mission-status-center/

 

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19:15
T-minus 15 minutes. Workers will soon evacuate the launch pad and fall back to a safe position for liftoff.

19:08 
The weather conditions are reported favorable at the launch site, where the sun is about to rise and temperatures are hovering around 43 degrees Fahrenheit.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/10/16/shenzhou-11-mission-status-center/

 

 

 

 

 

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19:22
The launch team has announced the official launch time as 2330:28 GMT (7:30:28 p.m. EDT; 7:30:28 a.m. Beijing time).

19:21 
T-minus 9 minutes. The Shenzhou 11 spacecraft's destination is the Tiangong 2 space lab orbiting 244 miles (393 kilometers) above Earth. The mission is supposed to last 33 days.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/10/16/shenzhou-11-mission-status-center/

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Jim K

Pretty launch.

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Excellent camera work...well done...

 

1476661405461662.png

The Shenzhou 11 spacecraft has separated from the Long March rocket in orbit.

 

 

 

 

 

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comedy interlude....

 

 

 

 

 

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China launches Shenzhou-11 manned spacecraft in northwest China

video is 1:22 min.

 

 

 

 

 

 

:woot:

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DocM
5 hours ago, jjkusaf said:

In your post ...

 

"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.”

 

yep ... I have serious doubts on this plan(e).  Will be cool if they can pull it off ... buuuut ... yea ... probably needs more fuel for the bang even if it isn't going orbital.

There's nothing outrageous about that design, most features coming from existing designs in development.

 

Using a rocket powered spaceplane is out of SS1 and SS2's playbook, just larger.

 

The runway to Karman Line, spiraling back to Earth to scrub speed is from the XCOR and EADS Astrium (Airbus Defense and Space) passenger spaceplane developments.  Also Reaction Engines Skylon though that's further down the road and orbital - 20+ people.

 

A smallsat launch pod atop the spaceplane is another XCOR feature.

 

Edited by DocM
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      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.