China National Space Administration CNSA (updates)

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Unobscured Vision

Wow. That's a hell of an agreement that the two Nations signed, and a HUUUUGE step for China to start doing partnerships like that. That's a positive thing, and my hat's off to them for "opening the doors" finally. It's really a bigger deal than it reads, folks. :yes: Good for them for taking the step. I wish them success and a fruitful partnership with everyone they sign with in the future.


And those satellites will change the game for them, too. :yes:

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China to Conduct Test Flight of CZ-8 Carrier Rocket by 2018



China is planning to develop the next-generation CZ-8 (Long March 8) medium-lift carrier rocket and will conduct the first test flight by the end of 2018, Li Tongyu, the head of carrier rocket development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology said Monday.


The core-stage of CZ-8 will be based on CZ-7 and CZ-3A (Long March 3A) carrier rockets, the CZ-8 is expected to have two solid-propelled boosters with a diameter of 6.5 feet, the representative added.


"If everything goes well, its maiden flight will take place by the end of 2018," Li said, as quoted by the China Daily newspaper.


The rocket will be able to deliver a payload of about 4.5 metric tons to a sun-synchronous orbit, or 2.5 tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit, according to Li.


The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the parent company of the the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, is the leading space launch vehicle manufacturer in China.




For the members of the Council: China needs to expand more aerospace launch tower



Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, March 2 (Xinhua Zhou Wenqi, Bai Guolong) CPPCC National Committee members, China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation Science and Technology Commission Director Bao Weimin 2 Xinhua accepted an interview with reporters that with the rapid increase in China's aerospace mission, Infrastructure is also an urgent need to upgrade, it is recommended to expand more launch tower to meet China's growing demand for aerospace launch.


  According to reports, China's Long March series carrier rocket will be implemented this year, Chang'e V, the day on the 1st and other 28 aerospace launch mission, the annual number of aerospace launch record highs.


  "In fact, according to the original plan, there are more than 30 launch missions, but by the number of emission stations and other factors, can not meet so many missions." Bao said the people, at present, China in Hainan Wenchang, Gansu Jiuquan, Sichuan Xichang and Shanxi Taiyuan's four space launch sites have a space launch tower, but the number and the world's space power there is a big gap.


  Bao said that China's domestic launch mission continues to grow, but also to expand the international market, which requires us to break through the bottleneck of aerospace launch infrastructure construction.


Sound familiar...need more pads...nice problem to have though...












"Wenchang satellite launch Center" which sites are used to launch small solid launch vehicle? 


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Bits and bytes....









China conducts secretive Debut Launch of Kaituozhe-2 Rocket



China carried out a secretive space launch Thursday night, debuting a new solid-fueled launch vehicle known as Kaituozhe-2 launching an experimental satellite into orbit. Liftoff from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center took place at 23:53 UTC and orbital data shows the mission was successful in reaching a Low Earth Orbit.


Official Chinese media confirmed the success of the launch and identified the launch vehicle as KT-2 and the satellite as TK-1, although no photos or video of the launch or its preparations were available in the hours following the event.


U.S. Space Surveillance detected two objects related to this launch, one in a 374 by 404-Kilometer orbit at an inclination of 96.9 degrees (presumably the TK-1 satellite) and the other in a lower orbit of 214 by 399 Kilometers, inclined 96.7° (presumably the rocket’s upper stage after performing an altitude reduction to speed up its orbital decay).



Over the past two years, China introduced a total of five new rockets – three new additions to the country’s Long March series that builds the backbone of China’s space architecture and two solid-fueled rockets optimized for cost-effective satellite deliveries into Low Earth Orbit. Thursday night’s mission stood out as virtually no details on the launch were released beforehand.


Kaituozhe, Chinese for ‘Explorer,’ represents a family of orbital launch vehicles developed by the China Aerospace Science & Industry Corporation (CASIC) dating back to 2000 when development of the KT-1 rocket began based on the Dong Feng-31 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.


According to Chinese media reports, KT-2 was designed for commercial operation and as a highly responsive launcher with mobile launch capability.

The maiden launch of the KT-2A booster lifted the Tiankun-1 satellite into orbit. TK-1, the New Technology Experimental Satellite, reportedly carries a remote sensing payload and aims to demonstrate a new small satellite platform developed by the second bureau of CASIC. Development of CASIC’s first satellite started in March 2014 and its mission will be filled with a number of validation tasks to demonstrate the spacecraft platform and its integrated electronics and communications system as well as the remote sensing payload.

more at the link...


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China to launch space station core module in 2018



File image



China will launch a space station core module in 2018 as the first step in completing the country's first space outpost, according to a senior engineer with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp. (CASC) on Thursday.


The core module of the space station, named "Tianhe-1" according to previous reports, will be launched on board a new-generation Long March-5 heavyweight carrier rocket, said Bao Weimin, director with CASC and a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).


It will be followed by a series of launches for other components of the space station, including two space labs, which will dock with the core module while in space, in the next four years or so, he said, adding that the space station will be completed around 2022.


Assembly of the core module has already been completed and tests are currently under way, said Bao, who is in Beijing for the annual session of China's top political advisory body.


Earlier reports said the new Chinese space station will initially be much smaller than the current International Space Station (ISS), which weighs 420 tonnes, but could be expanded for future scientific research and international cooperation.



He went on to say that the next five years will see some exciting advances in China's space program.


In particular, the Long March-5 launch missions have been scheduled this year, including one that will take the Chang'e-5 lunar probe to the Moon in November and return with lunar samples.


Long March-5 is a large, two-stage rocket with a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to low-Earth orbit and 14 tonnes to geostationary transfer orbit, the largest of China's carrier rockets. Its carrying capacity is about 2.5 times that of the current main model Long March carrier rockets.


The rocket will also be used in China's planned Mars probes, and possibly future missions to Jupiter and other planets within the solar system, Bao said.




Thinking Big: China Hopes to Conduct 2nd Mission to Mars by 2030



file image



China is likely to conduct its second Mars mission, aimed at collecting soil samples for analysis, by 2030, according to the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).


CASC consultant Ye Peijian said China hoped to collect samples of Mars' soil and bring them back to Earth to conduct scientific analyses of the red planet's structure and environment as well as to measure the possibilities for construction on Mars by 2030, the Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday.


Ye added that such missions were likely to open possibilities for China's deep space exploration.


On December 27, the Chinese State Council Information Office (SCIO) said China was planning to conduct its first orbiting and roving exploration of Mars by 2020. A month later, China National Space Administration's (CNSA) Vice Director Wu Yanhua confirmed that China's space exploration agenda included two missions to Mars and one to Jupiter.


Orbiter and rover in 2020, then sample return mission in 2030.






above image.....An image sent back by an accompanying satellite shows Shenzhou XI (top) and Tiangong II (bottom) in space on Oct 23, 2016. The satellite took the photo at a distance of 419 meters from Tiangong II and Shenzhou XI. (Photo/CCTV)



China's first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou I is expected to dock with the orbiting Tiangong II space lab three times after its planned launch in April, sources said Saturday.


Tianzhou I will be sent into space from the Wenchang Space Launch Center in south China's Hainan Province aboard a Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket, according to a spokesperson of China's manned space program.


It is scheduled to refuel Tiangong II three times and carry out experiments and tests.


During the journey, Tianzhou I will orbit on its own for about three months and together with Tiangong II for about two months after their rendezvous.


At the end of the mission, Tianzhou I will leave the orbit and fall back to earth while Tiangong II will remain in orbit and continue its experiments.


The Tianzhou I mission will complete the second phase of the country's manned space program.


It will be crucial for China in achieving the final step of establishing a space station around 2022.










February 5 to 12th, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the national space science centre 5-Member transport control Department in Darmstadt, Germany Europe's space flight Center (ESOC) for a 8-day short visit, study vehicle dynamics, task analysis, task controlling, ground operations, mission planning, simulation and other content  


The Department of Control organized the organization to attend the ESOC study summary exchange meeting



From 5 to 12 February, five people from the National Space Science Center and the Ministry of Finance set up a five-day short-term visit to the European Space Flight Center (ESOC) in Darmstadt, Germany, to study aircraft dynamics, mission analysis, Task control, ground segment operation, mission planning, system simulation and other aspects of content, and actual combat to participate in the mission of the launch of the satellite before the exercise. Through this visit, the technical staff of the control department not only learned the advanced experience of foreign counterparts, but also introduced the basic situation and characteristics of China's space science satellite series ground support system to foreign counterparts, which laid the foundation for further cooperation and cooperation between the two sides Good foundation.

  February 23, the Ministry of Control organized the Ministry of Control and technical personnel to the European Space Flight Center (ESOC) study summary exchange. At the meeting, five members of the ESOC exchange study Liu Yurong, Ma Wenzhen, Su Ju, Bai Meng and Zhang Wei, respectively, introduced the experience of the visit and experience, exchange topics around the European study overview, lectures, site visits, Practical exercises and popular science propaganda and automation and other related content to start. More than 40 technical personnel and ground support system research and development representatives attended the meeting. At the meeting, we also discussed the operation characteristics of ESOC, the status quo of the scientific satellite integrated control center, the mode of operation and control, the division of responsibilities of internal institutions, and the scope of application of automation control.

  Through this sharing and summary, the participants in-depth understanding of the ESOC organization, division of responsibilities, operational processes, technical characteristics, etc., for the next step to continue to optimize the scientific satellite integrated control center construction and operation provides a useful reference. In the next phase of the work, the control department will also further summarize the advanced experience of ESOC analysis, put forward the construction and operation optimization of the scientific satellite integrated control center, and in the space science satellite long tube operation work and the ground support system " "System development gradually implemented to protect the support of space science pilot special follow-up tasks.




Solar wind-magnetospheric interaction Panoramic imaging satellite (SMILE): In 2021, ESA was responsible for launching.



On February 28, 2017, Alvaro Gimenez, Deputy Director of Space Science, European Space Agency, visited the National Space Science Center. The two sides will hold the 13th China-EU Space Science Bilateral Seminar in London in May to discuss in depth the cooperation and future cooperation intention of the two sides and plans to sign the implementation agreement of the SMILE project under the framework of the ESA Space Cooperation Agreement , Formally established cooperation and coordination mechanism.


The 18th meeting of the International Scientific Working Group (SMILE, Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer) and the CEIBS were successfully held at the European Space Technology Center from February 13 to 16, 2017, the solar wind-magnetosphere interaction. The meeting reviewed and confirmed the scientific objectives of the SMILE satellite project, discussed in depth the importance of scientific objectives at all levels. In addition, more than 30 thematic reports were the main contents of the conference. The report included the SMILE satellite project. , Satellite system, payload, ground support system, scientific application system development progress and other fourteen engineering reports, magnetic layer top heavy scale space characteristics, sub-scientific objectives, soft X-ray imaging field of scientific objectives of the impact , About the latest hot spots of aurora imaging issues such as nineteen academic reports.




Long March 5 B rocket (CZ-5B): the first flight in 2019



Zhang Yulin: space station development and construction tasks progressing smoothly


2017-03-05 15:15:34 Source: Xinhua News Agency


  Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, March 5 (Xinhua Wang Yushan, Wang Jinguo) National People's Congress, the military equipment development minister Zhang Yulin 5, Xinhua told reporters in an interview that China's space station development and construction tasks progress smoothly. "We will be based on the Long March five technology, the development of Long March 5 B, specifically used to launch space stations, according to plan will be the first flight in 2019."


  April 2017, the day on the 1st cargo spacecraft will be the first test "space refueling" to carry out on-track maintenance and propellant in orbit and other technical validation. This is also the last large-scale experiment in space before the construction of space station in China.


  "The previous spacecraft take off the quality of only about 8 tons, each can only transport more than one ton of material.On the day of the ship off the quality of about 13 tons, you can transport about 6.5 tons of goods, spacecraft transport capacity greatly improved "As deputy commander of China 's manned space project, Zhang Yulin introduction, the launch task is still carried out by the Long March VII carrier rocket. "The new generation of rockets fired the official load at the new launch site, and in a sense it was their real first appearance."


  As the best platform for human exploration in space, space station is the highest goal of China's manned space project "three steps" strategy, China will build a space station around 2020.




Long March 9 heavy carrier rocket (CZ-9): 2030 or so to achieve the first flight





Tan Yonghua introduction, 480-ton engine is designed in China's new rocket engine, performance targets aimed at the international advanced level. Compared with the current 120-tonne engine used in the Long March 5 launch vehicle, the working principle is the same, but the thrust span is very large, which brings new challenges to the design, production, manufacture and test. The 480-tonne engine will be used as a bundle booster and a first-class power for the Long March 9 launch vehicle, while the 220-tonne hydrogen-oxygen engine will be used for core secondary power.

Heavy-duty launch vehicle: the end of 2018 to carry out the engine test


  China's heavy-duty launch vehicle has been incorporated into the "thirteen five" national scientific and technological innovation planning, and the formal approval of the national project. Rocket development work has achieved initial results, such as large-diameter aluminum alloy has been completed the overall forging ring frame development work.


  National People's Congress, China Aerospace Science and Technology Group, Deputy Director of Science and Technology Tan Yonghua introduced for heavy-duty launch vehicle bundled booster and core power 480-ton engine thrust liquid oxygen kerosene, made breakthrough progress: has completed the first gas generator - turbo pump linkage test, this year will carry out a second linkage test, plans to carry out the end of 2018 engine test machine.


  Heavy-duty carrying rocket body diameter of nearly 10 meters, the total length of nearly 100 meters. Rocket carrying capacity is the existing rocket carrying capacity of more than 5 times, more than the United States is developing the next generation carrier rocket (SLS)







500-ton heavy-duty liquid oxygen kerosene engine: comprehensive start heavy joint test test preparation



National People's Congress, China Aerospace Science and Technology Group, Deputy Director of Science and Technology Tan Yonghua introduced for heavy-duty launch vehicle bundled booster and core power 480-ton engine thrust liquid oxygen kerosene, made breakthrough progress: has completed the first gas generator - turbo pump linkage test, this year will carry out a second linkage test, plans to carry out the end of 2018 engine test machine.


Liquid oxygen kerosene engine is progressing smoothly, has been carried out on August 1 last year, the turbo pump test, that is, has produced 70% of the products to participate in the test, the test has been a complete success.







On March 6, 2017, the 21st International spacecraft and Hypersonic systems and technologies Conference (Hypersonics 2017)  @AIAA 

XMU University link




They have been busy.....:)




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China to develop satellite-delivery rockets released from airplanes



China will develop a new generation of rockets launched from aircraft that can put satellites into space, according to Li Tongyu, the head of carrier rocket development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology.


Air-launched rockets can rapidly replace dysfunctional satellites or, in cases of disaster relief, quickly send up Earth observation satellites to assist in the effort, Li said.


Designers at the academy, which is the main developer of Chinese carrier rockets, have designed a model capable of sending a payload of about 100 kilograms into low Earth orbit and are ready to produce one if the government asks, he said. They plan to design a larger rocket that could carry 200 kg into orbit.


"The Y-20 strategic transport plane will be the carrier of these rockets. The jet will hold a rocket within its fuselage and release it at a certain altitude. The rocket will be ignited after it leaves the plane," Li said.


Large satellites will still have to be put into orbit with conventional rockets, experts said.


Delivery of the Y-20 to the Chinese Air Force began in July. It is China's first domestically developed heavy-lift transport plane and has a maximum takeoff weight of more than 200 metric tons and a maximum payload of about 66 tons, aviation experts said.


Solid-fuel rockets can be launched from planes much faster than land-based, liquid-fueled rockets, where preparation can take days, weeks or longer, in part because it takes so much time to pump in the fuel, experts said.


Each mission involving a solid-fuel rocket launched by a Y-20 would take only 12 hours of preparation to place a 200 kg satellite into a sun-synchronous orbit 700 km above Earth, according to estimates by Long Lehao, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and other researchers at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The estimates were in an article published in October in the Journal of Deep-Space Exploration.



The United States undertook the world's first air-launched space mission in 1990, in which a Pegasus rocket developed by the former Orbital Sciences Corp was launched from a refitted B-52 strategic bomber to send two small satellites into orbit. Since then, 43 Pegasus missions have been carried out, with the most recent in December.


Several US space companies, including Virgin Galactic and Generation Orbit Launch Services, are developing air-launched rockets.


Chinese designers have been quietly working on the concept for years. China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp, parent of Li's academy, displayed a scale model of a winged, solid-propellant, air-launched rocket in 2006 at the Sixth China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.






Riding an asteroid: China's next space goal



After sending a probe to Mars in 2020, China plans to explore three asteroids and land on one of them to conduct scientific research, according to a Chinese asteroid research expert.


The "China's Space Activities in 2016" white paper, issued by the Information Office of the State Council recently, also mentioned asteroid exploration in outlining the major tasks of the country's space industry in the next five years.


Ji Jianghui, a researcher at the Purple Mountain Observatory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a member of the expert committee for scientific goal argumentation of deep space exploration in China, took part in expert discussions on the main scientific goals of China's deep space exploration in the next two decades.


The committee basically decided to conduct expeditions to asteroids and then Jupiter and its moon system after the Mars expedition. "The experts' plan is to fly a probe by an asteroid, to fly side by side with an asteroid for a period, and to land on a third one to conduct in situ sampling analysis on the surface," said Ji.


So far, only the United States and Japan had landed probes on asteroids. Japanese probe Hayabusa 1 landed on the asteroid Itokawa, and brought samples back to Earth.


"China will send the Chang'e-5 lunar probe to the moon and bring samples back in 2017. If that mission succeeds, it would mean China, like Japan, would be able to bring back samples from asteroids to study in labs on Earth in the future," said Ji.


Scientists would give priority to detecting near-Earth asteroids to analyze their probability of colliding with Earth.


At the same time, they are eager to study the formation and evolution of asteroids, which might shed light on the origins of the solar system, as well as the origins of life and water on Earth.


Chinese scientists plan to fly a probe side by side with an asteroid called Apophis for a period to conduct close observation, and land on the asteroid 1996 FG3. The probe is also expected to conduct a fly-by of an asteroid to be selected according to the launch time. The whole mission would last around six years, said Ji.







Prototype of China's Mars probe under development



BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- A model prototype of China's first Mars probe is under development as the country plans to launch the probe around the summer of 2020, a leading Chinese aerospace expert told Xinhua on Wednesday.


"The probe will be launched at the Wenchang Space Launch Center in China's southern Hainan Province," said Ye Peijian, a consultant to the program undertaken by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation.


"China is also preparing for the exploration of asteroids and Jupiter, as part of its plans for deep-space exploration," said Ye, who is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.


"The exploration of asteroids will be conducted after China finishes its first Mars exploration," Ye said.


He said that a second Mars exploration, hopefully around 2030, was expected to bring back samples. And research on the planet's structure, composition and environment would be conducted.


As to the importance of exploring asteroids, Ye said, "By collecting material from asteroids and analyzing their structure and composition, we can explore the formation of the solar system and the origin of life on Earth."


According to Ye, China plans to launch the Chang'e-5 lunar probe around the end of November this year.


The mission will feature China's first automated moon surface sampling, first moon take-off, first unmanned docking in a lunar orbit about 380,000 km from Earth, and first return flight in a speed close to second cosmic velocity.


"Whether Chang'e-5 can make a successful return with samples of lunar soil will be a big highlight and primary challenge in the mission," Ye said. "If successful, China will have its own lunar surface samples, which will help us know more about the moon, including its state, temperature and material."


China plans to fulfill three strategic steps with the launch of Chang'e-5 -- orbiting, landing and returning.


The country also plans to launch the Chang'e-4 lunar probe around 2018 to achieve mankind's first soft landing on the far side of the moon.


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Blue Origin will be offering short suborbital rides in about a year. Straight up, straight down but you get weightlessness, black sky and one helluva view.

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Chinese astronomers renew Antarctica telescope plan



In 2012, Chinese Antarctic Kunlun Station installed the first of three wide-field Antarctica Schmidt telescopes (AST3). (Photo: CNS)



Chinese astronomers have renewed their ambitious attempt to build two powerful telescopes at Dome A, the highest place in Antarctica.
Professor Cui, Deputy Director of the Chinese Centre for Antarctic Astronomy, said the two major telescopes would greatly assist the research of black holes and dark energy, as well as the origins of life and the universe, reported Xinhua News Agency.
Both Kunlun Dark Universe Telescope (KDUST), a 2.5-metre survey telescope, and Dome A Terahertz Explorer-5 (DATE5) were originally included in China’s 12th Five Year Plan (2011-2015) but funding has been difficult to secure.


According to Nature, the 5-metre DATE5 would offer a view inside the dark clouds of dust and molecules where astronomers believe stars are forming.
Using optical and near-infrared light to detect planets similar to Earth outside the solar system, KDUST could also find clues related to the mystery of dark matter and dark energy, as well as how the first stars were formed. 


“The completion of KDUST would make up for China’s lack of a Hubble telescope […] By observing distant objects in infrared wavelengths, we could expect to achieve a breakthrough in the field of dark energy research,” added Professor Cui, an academic with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a National Party Congress deputy.


Located at 4,093m above sea level, Antarctica’s Dome A, also known as Dome Argus, ice cap offers unparalleled conditions for stargazing because of its altitude and clean, bone-dry air, as well as reduced background noises for infrared observations.









Gargantuan Chinese Radio Telescope Stars in 'Impossible Engineering' Clip



A new clip from Science Channel's "Impossible Engineering" highlights the astonishingly large Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST) in China.


The 500 m (1,650 feet) dish is the world's largest single-aperture telescope — the dish is the size of 30 football fields — and its scale is dramatically evident in the video clip. "Impossible Engineering" devotes the first episode of its third season, airing March 30 at 9 p.m. (EDT and PDT), to how the massive telescope was built.


"The collecting area is more than 30 football fields," Bo Peng, deputy manager of the FAST project, said in the video. "If we fill the big dish with wine, everybody in the world could have four bottles of wine."


Engineers completed the telescope last year, and when it goes online it will lend a gigantic ear to the search for extraterrestrial life, as well as other scientific endeavors. It will be able to see further than the previous record-holder for size, the 1,000-foot-wide (300 meters) Aricebo Observatory in Puerto Rico.


Other episodes of "Impossible Engineering" will feature the construction of the International Space Station, Elon Musk's Tesla Factory, the Panama Canal Expansion, the Halley VI Research Centre in Antarctica, the hybrid airship Airlander 10 and more.

more at the link...


Enormous Radio Telescope in China Subject of 'Impossible Engineering' | Video, Flash




China’s first woman in space on spacewalks, the Chinese space station, and future female astronauts



Liu Yang ahead of launch of Shenzhou-9, China's first crewed orbital docking mission, at Jiuquan on June 16, 2012.



Liu Yang made history in June 2012 when she became China’s first woman in space aboard Shenzhou-9, having been selected as part of China’s second group of astronauts in 2010.
While still training as part of the astronaut corps, Liu is also a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislative body in China currently holding its annual session in Beijing.
Ms Liu answered questions on the sidelines of the NPC ahead of International Women's Day about China’s plans and training for human spaceflight, the upcoming Chinese Space Station, extravehicular activity – EVAs or ‘spacewalks’ -  and the future for female astronauts.


“After carrying out the last mission, everyday life for us astronauts is made up of study and training in preparation for the next mission. Along with the complete success of Shenzhou-11 mission, the second step in our “Three-step” plan is well completed.


“Next step is to construct our own space station by around 2022. Currently, the main task for us is to prepare for the space station. The longer residence time will bring more challenges. It requires new improvement in every aspect including physical and emotional state, and technical ability.”



“Long-term residence brings more new experimental projects, and so we need to further our studies and acquire new knowledge. Along with the establishment and long-term operation of the space station, rendezvous and docking and extravehicular maintenance will become necessary skills.


“Extravehicular activity and space station maintenance will definitely become necessary skills and a standard task.  The main plan for this year is that the entire second batch of Chinese astronauts shall focus on studying and training for extravehicular activity and extravehicular maintenance.”













Tianzhou-1: Long March 7 rocket delivered to Wenchang



The Long March 7 Y2 rocket that will launch China's first cargo spacecraft next month has arrived at Wenchang on Hainan Island ahead of the crucial mission for the country's space station plans.


The second Long March 7 will launch Tianzhou-1 to low Earth orbit where it will dock with the Tiangong-2 space lab and test docking and liquid propellent transfer in microgravity.


The process is necessary for refuelling and supplying the future Chinese Space Station, the core module of which is expected to launch in 2018. 

The two-stages, payload fairing and four strapon boosters of the Long March 7 carrier rocket were shipped from Tianjin in northern China where it was manufactured, with the journey taking one week.


Following Thursday's docking at Qinglan port, the components will soon be transported by road to the launch complex around two hours away.

The Long March 7 will be vertically assembled and topped with the Tianzhou-1 cargo spacecraft before being transferred to the Wenchang LC-2 launch pad for launch in mid-to-late April.


The rocket will stand at 53 metres tall, with a core stage diameter of 3.35m.


The 13-tonne Tianzhou-1 arrived at Wenchang in mid-February and will carry nearly 6.5 tonnes of cargo, including 2.5 tonnes of fuel into orbit.


It's target, Tiangong-2, has been in orbit since September, and has hosted China's longest human spaceflight mission so far.


The medium-lift Long March 7 was transported by the Xu Yang 16 cargo ship, rather than the specially built Yuan Wang 21 which delivered the first Long March 7 rocket for launch last summer, as shown in the video below.


This may be due to the vessel being required, along with Yuan Wang 22, to transport China's second heavy-lift Long March 5 rocket from Tianjin to Wenchang for a June mission to launch the Shijian-18 experimental satellite.



Long March-7 Y2 ready for launch of China's first cargo spacecraft



WENCHANG, Hainan, March 11 (Xinhua) -- A Long March-7 Y2 carrier rocket arrived at a launch center in south China on Saturday in preparation for the launch of China's first cargo spacecraft next month.


After about a week of ocean and rail transport, the carrier rocket arrived at Wenchang, Hainan, where it will undergo assembly and testing prior to the April launch of China's first cargo spacecraft Tianzhou-1, said China's manned space engineering office.


Tianzhou-1 is expected to dock with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab three times and conduct propellent refueling in orbit as well as other space experiments before falling back to earth. Tiangong-2 will remain in orbit and continue its experiments.


The Long March-7 Y2 is a medium-sized rocket that can carry up to 13.5 tonnes to low-Earth orbit. It is able to carry cargo spacecraft and man-made satellites. It made its maiden flight in June 2016.


The launch of Tianzhou-1 will complete the second phase of the country's manned space program, a crucial step for China in building a space station by 2020.




China's Space Station: Tianhe-1 module to be followed by Tianzhou-2, Shenzhou-12



The outline for China's next steps in human spaceflight and space station construction have been announced by a senior official at the main contractor for the country's space programme.


The core module of the Chinese Space Station, Tianhe-1, will be launched in 2018, says Zhang Bainan, chief designer of crewed spacecraft at the China Aerospace Science and Technology Cooperation (CASC).


This will be followed by Tianzhou-2, a cargo and refuelling spacecraft, which will dock with and supply Tianhe-1 in low Earth orbit.


After this the Shenzhou-12 crewed spacecraft will visit Tianhe-1, which is the first of three large modules that will make up the completed Chinese Space Station (CSS).


The launch order was revealed to press in Beijing at the country's ongoing annual parliamentary sessions by Mr. Zhang, whose given name is also pronounced 'Bonan', though no dates were offered.


Construction of the 20 metric tonne Tianhe-1 core module was completed in late 2016 and has entered a testing phase. 



Above: Rendering of the Tianhe-1 Chinese Space Station core module (CMSA).



Tianhe-1 will be launched from Wenchang by a Long March 5B rocket, a low Earth orbit variant of a new generation heavy-lift launch vehicle that debuted last year and will in November launch a lunar sample return mission, Chang'e-5.


The Tianzhou cargo spacecraft will next month have its first flight via a Long March 7 rocket to test liquid propellant refuelling in microgravity, once it docks with the orbiting Tiangong-2 space lab, a small 8-tonne testbed for CSS modules.


The mission will test and verify the crucial refuelling technologies and processes needed to maintain the future Mir-class CSS.


Shenzhou-12 will be China's seventh crewed spaceflight mission, following Shenzhou-11 last October which doubled the country's record for human spaceflight duration.



Constructing a space station


Bao Weimin, also of CASC, told press earlier this week that from 2018 to completion, the CSS project will require more than a dozen launches, including launching modules, Tianzhou cargo vessels and Shenzhou crewed missions to the facility.


Liu Yang, China's first woman in space, said in an interview this week that the country's astronauts are in training for extravehicular activities - EVAs or 'spacewalks' - and maintenance of the CSS.



Above: A model of the CSS with a Shenzhou vessel docked below and Tianzhou craft (fore) on display during China's first space day in April 2016



Two experiment modules named 'Wentian' and 'Mengtian' will join with Tianhe-1 to form the CSS. Smooth progress would see it completed by around 2022. 


The two science modules will feature experiment racks focusing on the areas of space life sciences and biotechnology, microgravity fluid physics and combustion, material science in space, fundamental physics in microgravity and other multi-purpose uses.



Above: Space life science experiment racks for the CSS (CMSA).



The CSS will feature two 30-metre solar panels and two robotic arms for construction, repair and docking.


Also expected to be part of the CSS is a free-flying space telescope with a two-metre mirror, dubbed 'China's Hubble'.


The Xuntian module is expected to provide a level of resolution no less than the famous Hubble space telescope, but with a field of view 300 times larger.



China began its human spaceflight programme in 1992, and in 2003 became only the third country after the United States and Russia (Soviet Union) to independently put an astronaut - namely Yang Liwei - in space, 


The CSS is the ultimate goal of 'Project 921', which China aims to keep permanently crewed with 3-6 astronauts for at least a decade. 



Above: Tianzhou-1 undergoing testing at the AIT centre in Tianjin, North China (CGTN/Framegrab).




China to launch 6-8 latest navigation satellites in 2017



China plans to launch six to eight BeiDou-3 satellites in 2017, according to a senior designer of the satellite navigation system. It is part of a plan to put 35 BeiDou satellites into space to form an orbiting satellite network and offer worldwide navigation services by 2020, said Yang Yuanxi, deputy chief designer of the BeiDou satellite navigation system, on Monday.


Yang was speaking on the sidelines of the fifth session of the 12th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, of which he is a member.


Compared to earlier generation products, the BeiDou-3 is able to cover a wider range and has a longer lifespan of 12 years, according to Bao Weimin, another CPPCC National Committee member and an official with China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation. Named after the Chines name for the Big Dipper constellation, the BeiDou system is designed to offer an alternative to GPS.


A government white paper published in December said China expects to provide basic services to limited clients in 2018 and expand to all clients with more accurate and reliable services through better ground- and satellite-based systems by 2020.


China has already sent 22 BeiDou satellites into space. Yang said the launches this year will feature two satellites on a single carrier rocket.



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A new SpaceX? China developing system to recover, reuse space rockets



China is developing a system to recover parts of rockets used in space launches to bring down costs and make its space programme more commercially competitive, according to researchers involved in the project.

The system would bring the rocket engine and booster safely back to the ground so they can be reused in future launches. Besides saving operational costs, the recovery would also reduce the threat of debris falling to the ground, the researchers said.

The recovery system is under development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology in Beijing.


It involves using a set of multiple parachutes, which are stored in the first stage of the rocket, which is released from the rest of the craft before it burns its way through the Earth’s atmosphere.
An airbag inflates under the discarded part of the rocket, which cushions impact when it finally hits the ground.

The technology differs from the system used by the commercial company SpaceX on its Falcon 9 rockets. As the first stage of Falcon 9 falls back to Earth, its engines reignite when it reaches a speed of 3km per second, slowing it down to reduce impact as it lands vertically on the ground.

in an article on the academy’s website, Deng Xinyu, a researcher on the Chinese rocket recovery programme, said that vertical landing involved many challenges and was extremely difficult to achieve.


Rockets over China

video is 1:00 min.




// I don't think this will end well....chutes are not that gentle for a delicate stage, when off vertical....:s




Chang'e IV: June 18, 2018 Long March IV C Rocket Launch Relay Communication Satellite, at the end of 2018 Long March III B rocket launch lander and inspector.



On March 16, Wu Yanhua signed a memorandum of understanding between China National Space Administration and King Abdul Aziz's Science and Technology City on China's Chang'e IV mission in the Great Hall of the People, The The signing of this memorandum opens a new chapter in Saudi Arabia's cooperation in the field of lunar exploration and deep space exploration.


A memorandum of understanding for cooperation on the Kingdom's participation in China trip to explore the moon (Chang E-4) was signed by Prince Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed, President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and Deputy Chairman of National Space Administration Wui Enhwa.


Relay star load: low frequency radio spectrum analyzer in the Netherlands.


Lander load: landing camera, topography camera, low frequency radio spectrum analyzer, Germany neutron and radiation dose detector.


Lunar rover load: panoramic camera, measured moon radar, infrared imaging spectrometer, Sweden's neutral atomic detector.


Public load: 1-2 items.


"Chang'e 4" task of the project objectives are: to achieve the first human lunar landing on the back of the soft landing and inspection; to achieve the first time on the Lagrange L2 point relay to the month of the month of monitoring and control, digital relay.


"Chang'e 4" mission will carry out three kinds of scientific detection: low-frequency radio astronomy observation and research; landing area geological characteristics of detection and research; lunar surface on the back of the moon environment detection and research.


Landing on the back of the moon in place to detect, has been one of the important goals of national lunar exploration, but has not yet achieved. One of the main reasons is landing to the back, facing greater technical challenges. Compared to the landing to the front of the moon, the main technical difficulties are reflected in the following three aspects:


1) Landing under complex terrain conditions

"Chang'e 3" task of the landing area in the relatively flat selection of the Hongwan area; and the back of the moon topography to high ground mainly terrain is relatively rugged. In order to ensure the safety of landing, on the one hand, it is necessary to optimize the guidance, navigation and control strategies to provide the ability to adapt to complex terrain; on the other hand, through the refinement of the track design and control to reduce the landing point to ensure that the landing Safety.


2) relay communication

On the back of the moon, the lander, the inspector can not communicate directly with the earth, and must use satellite relay. The choice of relay satellites, the choice of relay mode, etc. have a great impact on the risk of implementation of the task, need to be integrated optimization. At the same time, the task link increases, making the ground gymnastics

For more complex, the task risk increases.


3) RTG thermoelectric comprehensive utilization

In order to achieve the monthly target of the monthly temperature of the project, the need for the development of isotope temperature difference power supply (RTG) to provide the supply of lunar night power. At the same time, the decay heat generated by the RTG needs to be introduced into the cabin to provide heat for the equipment to cope with the very low temperature environment of the moonlight on the moonlight. RTG design and verification, thermoelectric integrated and efficient use of technology, are facing new challenges.


"Chang'e 4" detector will be developed lander, patrols and relay stars, breaking the moon on the L2 level of the precise design and control of the track, the month-l2 point long-distance data relay, complex terrain environment conditions High-precision landing, isotope temperature power generation and moonlight work and other key technologies to achieve the first human landing on the back of the moon and carry out exploration activities, deepen and expand our lunar exploration technology for the follow-up mission to lay the foundation for the follow-up mission.


Chang'e IV will carry a small satellite cooperation between the two countries.


The delegation of the Polish Space Agency visited the space center Huairou headquarters


























TCSTAR-1 (Star One) Thailand Thaicom Communications Satellite contract: 2019 medium-term by the Long March III B carrier rocket launched from Xichang.



Thailand TCSTAR-1 communications satellite carrying Ka-band load, the use of multi-point beam covering Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia, providing broadband and mobile services, design life of 15 years, will be in 2019 by the Long March III B launch vehicle launch. The successful signing of the contract marks the domestic communications satellite into the international mainstream operator market once again made a breakthrough.


Star age Focus on satellite technology services: Ka high-throughput satellite help "along the way"


Star 1

Launch date: 2019 years

Model: To be determined

Nominal track position: To be determined

Capacity: 70Gbps


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Bits and bytes...














China to launch new weather satellite in second half of 2017



CHINA will launch a new meteorological satellite in the second half of this year, which will be capable of detecting auroras, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) announced Thursday.


The satellite, the country's fourth Fengyun-III meteorological satellite, is expected to improve weather disaster forecasting ability as well as environmental monitoring.


Compared with its previous three Fengyun-IIIs, the new one will be more reliable, stable and accurate, as it will be equipped with several new remote sensors, according to CASC scientist Zhu Wei.


The new satellite will carry sensors to detect changes in auroras and the ionosphere, and a microwave imager to provide constant all-weather monitoring of global weather indicators, Zhu said.


China plans to launch another four Fengyun-IIIs in the future, helping shorten the interval between world weather forecast updates from six hours to four hours and double the frequency of updates for weather disaster monitoring.


Fengyun satellites are a series of remote-sensing meteorological satellites developed by China. Fengyun-I and Fengyun-III are polar orbiting weather satellites, while Fengyun-II and Fengyun-IV operate in geostationary orbit.


Previously, China has successfully launched 15 weather satellites.




//off topic, but....Thought this was neat...





China will launch the first Mars probe in July-August 2020







no info, but have images ...will have more later....




Changsha Tianyi Mini Hubble astronomical observation satellite: 2017 launch




China's first time-sharing lease astronomical satellite "UCloud Yunhan", the satellite plan will be launched in 2018, which is the first time in the field of commercial aerospace satellite cloud providers to get involved. The cooperation, the two sides will take this as a starting point, call resources to jointly develop the space business, promote the future of domestic commercial space industry progress.

UCloud and Tianyi Research Institute will also launch the first time-sharing lease astronomical satellite full cooperation

TiC2017 Conference, UCloud will carry out in-depth cooperation with Tianyi Research Institute. Tianyi Institute will be through the cloud computing to achieve a large number of satellite data storage and fast computing, and UCloud will provide resources for the day support. 


Launched this year. On the afternoon of March 8th, in the aerospace science and technology lectures of the third session of the Science and Technology Festival of Hunan Normal University, Yang Feng revealed that the small Hubble Space Telescope was being developed and sent to space.





The satellite will be equipped with professional optical astronomical telescope, open to the astronomy enthusiasts time-sharing. "The price is estimated to be an hour two or three thousand dollars." Yang Feng introduction, astronomy enthusiasts can log on the site, control the entire satellite, shoot any area you want to shoot.








"Mini Hubble" is a small satellite based on astronomical observation missions. The satellite will be launched in June 2017 and will become the first astronomical observation satellite to be developed and successfully launched in China under the new system and commercial space model.


The satellite has a total weight of 35kg, equipped with 300mm caliber optical primary mirror and X-ray detector, can be observed for a long time sky gaze, all-day deep space exploration, optical survey and other astronomical observation activities and space science experiments.


Cool...I want one.....:D



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Unobscured Vision

Good stuff. Technology demonstrators are always a good thing. And they've announced their reusable rocket family, ala SpaceX, to fly sometime after 2028.


Competition breeds innovation, and I'm all for innovation. :yes: 

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A Chinese commercial space operator is taking cues from you know who, but at the smallsat scale





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Unobscured Vision

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Good luck to them in getting it to actually work. There's a lot more in getting a Falcon-based design functioning besides the configuration, regardless of the scale.

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LandSpace's solid fuelled Future-1 launched, but the 3rd stage guidance system failed....



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China to unveil Chinese Space Station core module



A 1:1 model of the Tianhe core module of the Chinese Space Station on October 23, 2018, to go on display at the Zhuhai Airshow in November. CNS



China will unveil a full size model of the Tianhe core module of the Chinese Space Station at an airshow in November, revealing details of the 20-metric-tonne spacecraft.


Seen in the image of the 16.6m-long Tianhe module is the wider, 4.2m-diameter resources compartment (left), the 2.8m-diameter life support and control section, and the docking hub (right), which will allow connection with further modules and visiting Shenzhou crewed spacecraft and Tianzhou cargo vessels.


The model will be open to the public at the Zhuhai Airshow in Guangdong Province, which runs from November 6-11 in south China.


Speaking at a human spaceflight conference in Xi'an, North China on Tuesday, Hao Chun, director of China Manned Space Engineering Office, said, "Currently, we are making steady progress in the space station research and construction. Key technological breakthroughs have been made in producing the three modules including the core capsule and the Long March-5B carrier rocket. Selection of the third batch of astronauts is also underway as scheduled," according to state media.


The Tianhe module will be the first of three 20-metric-tonne modules that will make up the Chinese Space Station (CSS), along with two experiment modules to be used for a range of science objectives.


Tianhe, which means 'harmony of the heavens', was completed in the first half of 2017, but the high levels of secrecy - typical of China's space activities - mean that few images or details of the spacecraft have been available.


A view of the Tianhe living compartment, with five Control Moment Gyroscopes (CMGs) visible. CCTV/framegrab



Two experiment modules will be orbited and attached to Tianhe around 2021 and 2022, following intervening cargo and crewed missions, completing the orbital facility, though a co-orbiting optical module will later be launched.


In early October Yang Hong from the Institute of Manned Space System Engineering under the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a major spacecraft maker, stated that the basic T-shape for the planned three-module Chinese Space Station (CSS) could be extended to add three more modules and greatly increase the overall mass of the orbital outpost.


It was also announced this month that international teams have submitted 36 applications to send science payloads to the future orbital outpost under a joint United Nations-China initiative to open up the CSS to cooperation.


A rendering of the completed Chinese Space Station, including docked Shenzhou and Tianzhou spacecraft. CMSA




China's space station: What you need to know (video)



Once completed in around 2022, the 60-tonne Chinese Space Station (CSS) is expected to be operational for at least 10 years, hosting 3-6 astronauts at any one time.


The CSS will be open to science proposals from all United Nations members, and will also be joined by a co-orbiting optical module, similar in size to the Hubble Space Telescope.


Our video above gives an introduction into the history of the project, the plans for launch, research and what we currently know about the modules, the crew, the spacecraft and rockets and facilities on Earth.


video is 6:09 minutes

China's space station: What you need to know




China could expand its space station to six modules



China could extend plans for its space station by adding further modules to the planned orbital complex, a senior space official has stated.


Yang Hong, from the Institute of Manned Space System Engineering under the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST), a major spacecraft maker, stated that the basic T-shape for the planned three-module Chinese Space Station (CSS) could be extended to add three more modules and greatly increase the overall mass of the orbital outpost.


Yang presented the characteristics and functions of the 'Tiangong' (Heavenly Palace) space station at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany on October 4.


By expanding the facility, Yang stated the CSS can go from around 70 metric tonnes to 160-180 metric tonnes in mass.


China is currently aiming to launch the first CSS module, Tianhe, in 2020, once the Long March 5 and 5B launch vehicles are proven ready. Tianhe could already have been launched in 2018, but for the failure of the second Long March 5 launch, which prompted a redesign of its first stage engines.


Two experiment modules will be orbited and attached around 2021 and 2022, following intervening cargo and crewed missions.


Open space station

In 2016 China signed an agreement with the United Nations to open the CSS to international partners, especially developing nations, thereby allowing for science experiments to be sent to the station.


Introducing Yang's presentation, Li Ming, vice president of CAST, said that the CSS was, "Not just for Chinese, but for all humankind".


The agreement also opens the door for partners to send astronauts or even add modules to the CSS.


Funding, resources and priorities will likely be key to a decision to expand, as China also has plans for robotic and eventual human exploration of the Moon.




What we know about China's space station: modules, crew, launch plans and more



'Arms and wings'

The CSS will be aided by two robotic arms and two flexible solar arrays, or 'wings’, each with a 30-metre wingspan.


“Together with biaxial sun pointing mechanisms and high-efficient lithium ion batteries, they constitute a sophisticated and powerful space station power system," Zhou Jianping, a senior space official, said in 2016.


The station will also have two robotic arms, with a total length of 15 metres, Zhou added, noting that human-machine coordination will make the building and maintaining of the Space Station possible. The arms will also be used for installing experiments.


The large mechanical arm for the Chinese Space Station, undergoing testing. Framegrab/CCTV



The Long March 5B is set to debut in June 2019 from Wenchang. If successful, the following launch would then carry the Tianhe module to an orbit of around 390 kilometres above the Earth, around 2020.


Once in orbit, Tianhe is then set to be visited by the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft in order to deliver supplies and propellant, and then by the first crew, aboard Shenzhou-12.


The Wentian and Mengtian experiment modules, along with further Tianzhou and crewed Shenzhou missions, will then follow, to be joined by a docking hub, with the orbital outpost to be completed around 2022, orbiting at an altitude between 340-450 kilometres above the Earth.


The CSS will be supported by Tianlian data relay satellites, much like the tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) the United States uses for communications satellites, and the Beijing Aerospace Control Center (BACC).


Xuntian telescope

It is also planned that the CSS will be joined by a co-orbiting optical module, also known as the Xuntian space telescope (巡天, or 'observing the heavens'). The Hubble-class space telescope will share the same orbit as the CSS and be able to dock with it for maintenance, repairs and propellant supply.


Xuntian will have a mirror around 2 metres in diameter, similar to that of Hubble, but with a field of view 200 times greater, according to latest announcements.


A rendering of the Xuntian space telescope, or Chinese Space Station optical module, in a presentation from the China Manned Space Agency. Sina Weibo/Lin Xiaoyi




This is what a day and night on the Moon looks like from China's Chang'e-3 lunar spacecraft



A video from the National Astronomical Observatories of China gives an impression of how a month (lunar day and night) appears to Chang'e-3 spacecraft situated on Mare Imbrium.


The footage, illustrating September 2014, shows the Sun and planets moving along the ecliptic, while also showing the phases of the Earth as seen from the Moon.


The phases of the Earth and Moon appear to be the reverse of the other. With the Sun at its zenith, marking a full Moon as seen from from the Earth, the Earth is completely in shadow from the Moon's perspective.


The Sun, Earth and Moon are in a line at this time, and sometimes bring about lunar eclipses as seen from Chang'e-3. The following month saw a total lunar eclipse, during which Chang'e-3 would have taken advantage of the unique conditions with its Lunar Ultraviolet Telescope.


Across the month, the Sun is seen to rise for 14 days and then sets, leaving 14 days of darkness. During the periods of darkness the Chang'e-3 lander—which is apparently still operational—and rover, which ceased operating mid-2016, would automatically enter a sleep mode.


While the Earth is seen spinning rapidly, the motion of the Moon is slow. The Moon is tidally locked to the Earth, meaning the time taken for the Moon to rotate about its axis is the same as it takes to orbit the Earth, and means the same side of the Moon always faces the Earth.


As EarthSky notes, the Moon appears to rise and set as seen from Earth not because of the Moon’s motion – but because Earth spins once a day on its axis. Because one side of the Moon always faces us, from most places on the Moon, Earth doesn’t appear to rise or set. Instead, from a given point on the Moon’s near side, Chang'e-3 would always see Earth hanging in the sky.


A month on the Moon as seen from Chang'e-3 and Yutu

video is 2:39 min.



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Edited by DocM
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China launches historic mission to land on far side of the moon



A view of the far side of the moon and the distant Earth, captured by the service module for the Chang’e 5-T1 tech demo mission in 2014. Credit: Chinese Academy of Sciences



A robotic lander and rover lifted off Friday (U.S. time) from China’s Xichang space center, kicking off a journey that will culminate in an attempt in early January to touch down on the far side of the moon for the first time.


The Chang’e 4 mission — the fourth in China’s main line of lunar explorers — lifted off at 1823:34 GMT (1:23:34 p.m. EST) Friday from Xichang, an inland spaceport nestled between hills in southwestern China’s Sichuan province.


Chang’e 4 climbed into the night sky at Xichang — liftoff occurred at 2:23 a.m. Beijing time Saturday — toward the east affixed to the top of a Long March 3B rocket.


Chinese state television did not broadcast the launch live, as it did for China’s previous lunar mission launch in December 2013, but spectators near Xichang streamed live video of the middle-of-the-night blastoff online without commentary. The video showed the Long March 3B disappearing into the night sky a few minutes after an apparently smooth liftoff from Xichang.


The three-stage Long March 3B rocket injected the Chang’e 4 spacecraft on a trajectory toward the moon less than a half-hour after liftoff, Chinese officials confirmed.


Chang’e 4 is expected to enter lunar orbit Tuesday after a series of course-correction maneuvers, then use braking rockets to descend to the moon’s surface, targeting a landing inside the 110-mile-wide (180-kilometer) Von Karman crater in moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin region in early January.


China launches Chang'e-4, in attempt to be first in landing on far side of the Moon

video is 56 seconds




In addition to a suite of cameras on both the stationary lander and rover, the mission aims to deliver a new set of sensors to the lunar surface, some of which are provided by European scientists.


The roughly 2,600-pound (1,200-kilogram) landing module, which will make a rocket-powered landing on the moon like Chang’e 3, carries a low frequency radio spectrometer developed by Chinese scientists for astrophysics research. A German-developed neutron and dosimetry instrument on the stationary lander will measure radiation levels at the Chang’e 4 landing site, collecting data that could be useful in planning human exploration of the lunar far side, studying solar activity, and gauging the underground water content in Von Karman crater.


The Chang’e 4 rover, which weighs around 300 pounds (140 kilograms), hosts a ground-penetrating radar to study geologic layers buried under the landing site, and a visible and near-infrared spectrometer to gather data on soil composition. Chinese officials approved the addition of a Swedish instrument on the rover to study the interaction between the solar wind and the lunar surface, which is not shielded by an atmosphere from the bombardment of charged particles originating at the sun.


Chang’e 4 will also deliver to the moon a student-designed carrier containing potato seeds and silkworm eggs. University students and scientists will monitor the growth of the organisms, which are housed inside a chamber and fed natural light and nutrients once on the lunar surface.



The deep, South Pole-Aitken basin is shown in shades of purples and blues in this color shaded relief map of the Moon’s farside using data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, centered at 180 degrees longitude. Von Kármán crater is labeled. Credit: NASA/GSFC/DLR/ASU



The moon is tidally locked with Earth, so the same side of the lunar surface always faces our planet. One of the critical challenges in sending a mission to the far side of the moon — the hemisphere that always faces away from Earth — is communications.


China launched a dedicated relay satellite named Queqiao in May to pass off signals between ground controllers in China and the Chang’e 4 spacecraft when it is outside of direct radio contact. Queqiao, which means “magpie bridge” in Chinese, flew into a “halo orbit” around an Earth-moon gravitational balance location — called a Lagrange point — around 40,000 miles (65,000 kilometers) beyond the moon.


At that location, the combined effect from gravity from Earth and the moon keeps Queqiao at roughly the same distance as the moon completes each 28-day orbit around our planet.




Diagram of the Queqiao spacecraft’s data relay function between Earth and the Chang’e 4 lander and rover. Credit: CASC



China’s growing push for international collaboration in space


The inclusion of instruments on Chang’e 4 from Kiel University in Germany and the Swedish Institute of Space Physics marks the first time international payloads have flown to the lunar surface on a Chinese lander.


China’s Queqiao data relay craft also carries an international science payload. Dutch scientists developed a low-frequency radio receiving flying on Queqiao to study how future missions heading to the far side of the moon could be used for astronomical observations, taking advantage of a “radio quiet” interference-free zone where the moon blocks natural and human-made radio emissions from the sun and Earth.


Two tech demo microsatellites also launched with Queqiao earlier this year, each with their own radio astronomy payloads and optical cameras from Saudi Arabia. One of the small spacecraft reportedly failed to enter lunar orbit, but the other successfully arrived at the moon and beamed imagery back to Earth.


Zhang Kejian, head of the China National Space Administration, or CNSA, said in October that the Queqiao relay satellite could be used by future lunar missions by other countries to the moon’s far side. Zhang also announced at the International Astronautical Congress in Bremen, Germany, that an extra 22 pounds, or 10 kilograms, of payload capacity will be available on the Chang’e 6 mission for small instruments provided by institutions outside China.

more at the link...
















Launch went well...booster recovery not as graceful as SpaceX..













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Chinese Spacecraft Enters Lunar Orbit Ahead of Planned Moon Landing



Early Wednesday morning, China’s Chang’e 4 spacecraft entered a lunar orbit after a 4.5-day flight to the moon. China is attempting to be the first nation to soft-land a spacecraft on the moon’s far side, which always faces away from Earth because of a phenomenon called “tidal locking.” The mission involves a lander and a small robotic rover equipped with cameras and tools to analyze lunar geology, make radio observations and analyze solar wind interactions. Data from the lander and rover will be relayed back to Earth by a communications satellite. China hopes to have a manned lunar base by 2030.





The entire mission has been one of precision and you can bet that the Chinese have the orbiter exactly where they want it...landing will occur in early first few days of January 2019.

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Spacewatch: China's moon lander enters lunar orbit



China’s lunar lander Chang’e-4 has successfully entered orbit around the moon.


After a voyage of 240,000 miles (385,000km) that lasted 110 hours, the spacecraft fired its retrorockets on 12 December while just 80 miles above the lunar surface. This placed it in a stable elliptical orbit, where it will stay until the landing attempt, which is expected next month.


Chang’e-4 was launched on 7 December atop a Long March-3B rocket from Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in China’s Sichuan province.


It is the second spacecraft in the China National Space Administration’s (CNSA) mission to attempt the first landing on the far side of the moon.


The first spacecraft, a communications relay satellite called Queqiao, launched on 20 May and is now stationed in its operational orbit about 40,000 miles beyond the moon.


A relay satellite is needed because once the lander is on the far side of the moon, it will not be in sight of Earth.


A date for the landing attempt has not yet been announced but it is likely to take place in early January after mission controllers have tested all systems.


The spacecraft carries experiments and instruments from a number of countries including Germany, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia and Sweden.




Chang’e-4 spacecraft enters lunar orbit ahead of first-ever far side landing





Three trajectory correction maneuvers had been planned for the lunar transfer orbit phase, but just one, carried out Dec. 9, was required, with the first and final maneuvers deemed unnecessary and thus canceled.

Consisting of a lander and a rover, the spacecraft will attempt the first ever soft landing on the far side of the moon — which due to tidal locking never faces the Earth — in early 2019.

The lander and rover are equipped with cameras and science payloads to analyze the lunar surface geology and subsurface, solar wind interactions and carry out low-frequency radio observations in the unique radio-quiet environment on the far side of the moon.

Communications with the spacecraft will be facilitated by the ‘Queqiao’ relay satellite launched in May and subsequently inserted into a halo orbit around the second Earth-moon Lagrange point, some 65,000-85,000 kilometers beyond the moon.




James Head, a planetary scientist at Brown University’s Department of Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences in Providence, Rhode Island, told SpaceNews that instruments such as the Lunar Penetrating Radar, also aboard Chang’e-3, will provide images of the structure of the lunar soil layers and any subsurface lava flow units, and any interbedded soils, and “help us to understand the three-dimensional nature and extend of subsurface units.”

Head states that the Visible and Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS) payload is also of very high interest and will allow comparisons between the mineralogy of the floor of the South Pole-Aitken basin to nearside units and help answer questions such as did the South Pole-Aitken Basin impact penetrate to the lunar mantle.

No official date has been released for the powered descent landing attempt, but the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the main contractor for the Chinese space program, indicated shortly after launch that the landing will take place in the first days of January 2019, following sunrise over the main candidate landing within the Von Kármán crater in late December.

Chang’e-4 was originally planned as a backup to the Chang’e-3 lander and rover mission, which in December 2013 made China the third country to achieve a soft-landing on the lunar surface, and the first since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976.

The lander has a dry mass of 1,200 kilograms and carries the 140-kilogram mission rover. At launch when loaded with propellant the spacecraft weighed around 3,800 kilograms.

The Chang’e-4 mission is to be followed by China’s first sample return mission, Chang’e-5, which could launch in late 2019 on a Long March 5 rocket.



Render of the Chang’e-4 lander, with rover on top, on the lunar surface. Credit: Framegrab/CCTV/CNSA


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She landed....







An image captured after the probe's soft landing /CNSA Photo






The south side of the landing site on the far side of the Moon /CNSA Photo


picture reference...

China's Chang'e-4 makes historic landing on Moon's far side




as a side note...












Close-up view of the wheel of the Chang'e-4 rover 'Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit 2). CLEP/CNSA




The Chang'e-4 'Yutu 2' rover was deployed on the lunar surface at 14:22 UTC, December 3, 2018.CLEP/CNSA



China's 'Yutu 2' Chang'e-4 rover is now rolling on the far side of the Moon



China's Chang'e-4 mission rover mission rover has rolled down from the lander onto the lunar surface following Thursday's historic landing on the far side of the Moon.


The Chang'e-4 spacecraft had made its descent from lunar orbit and into the pre-selected landing area with the Von Kármán crater at 02:26 universal time Thursday (10:26 Beijing time).


The lander returned the first ever images from the surface of the far side of the morning shortly after, with images from its descent and others cameras sent to Earth via the Queqiao relay satellite.


Almost twelve hours later the China Lunar Exploration Project (CLEP) announced that the rover had descended from atop the lander at 14:22 UTC.


CLEP also revealed that the rover would be named Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit 2), following on from the rover for the Chang'e-3 mission which landed on Mare Imbrium on the near side of the Moon in December 2013.


The name came from a public contest to elicit names, a vote from a shortlist and final decision by committee. 'Brightness' (光明, guangming), 'Wang Shu' (望舒) and 'Stroller' or 'Hiker' (行者, xingzhe) had appeared more popular.


Chang'e-4 landed at 177.6 degrees east longitude and 45.5 degrees south following a 12-minute powered descent.


Yutu will rove within Von Kármán craterand analyse the variations of composition of the lunar surface the Visible and Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (VNIS), while also returning unprecedented images with a panchromatic camera.


The rover's two offer science payloads, the Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) and Advanced Small Analyser for Neutrals (ASAN), the latter developed by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics in Kiruna, will provide insight into the lunar subsurface to a potential depths of hundreds of metres and the space environment and interactions with the surface respectively.

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I'll get back to this later with info on science packages and interest in myriametric waves, rf of  (<30 MHz)...HF spectrum and below, from space based locations...which can  be done easier from this "earth origin based" noise free location.

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Good view of launch site...




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Jim K

First moon plants sprout in China’s Chang’e 4 biosphere experiment


A sprouting cotton seed on China’s Chang’e 4 lunar lander is the first plant ever to germinate on another world, heralding a new era for life in space.


Seeds of cotton, oilseed rape, potato and arabidopsis were carried to the moon as part of a biosphere experiment, along with fruit fly eggs and some yeast.


Pictures sent back by the probe show cotton, rape and potato seeds sprouting and growing well, the scientist leading the experiment, Liu Hanlong, told South China Morning Post. Chang’e 4 landed on the far side of the moon on 3 January and this image was dated 7 January.



New Scientist


Very cool.


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Likely evolved from China's Shenlong H6-2 test vehicle, akin to the US X-37B.





Chinese reusable experimental spacecraft releases object before returning to Earth


HELSINKI — A Chinese reusable experimental spacecraft released an unknown object before deorbiting Sunday, ending a secretive two-day mission in low Earth orbit.

The spacecraft launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert Thursday atop a Long March 2F rocket. Airspace closure notices issued a day earlier provided the only clue to the timing and nature of the mission.
“The successful flight marked the country’s important breakthrough in reusable spacecraft research and is expected to offer convenient and low-cost round trip transport for the peaceful use of the space,” Xinhua stated. 

Somewhat in contrast to the use of ‘peaceful use of space’ to describe the project, the nature of both the mission and spacecraft remain closely guarded. 


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