Various updates on government programmes can be found around the blogosphere lately, with a video of the preparation and 14 September launch of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries built HII-A rocket carrying the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Selene, aka Kaguya, lunar orbiter probe, Chinese state run media claims of a location for China’s new launch complex and that favourite past time of aerospace project managers, going over budget.It is certainly congratulations to JAXA for the launch of its Moon probe. That agency has not a huge amount of luck with its launches and missions.
But what is of more interest to me is the progress of the H-IIB, which is designed to reduce the operational costs by being able to launch two satellites at a time (something Arianespace’s EADS Astrium built Ariane 5 can already do) and send the planned HII Transfer Vehicle (HTV), Japan’s automated space station supply spacecraft that is similar to the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer vehicle, to the International Space Station.
According to the HII-B programme manager a Battleship Firing Test of the new first stage will take place at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Tashiro test site “in [Fiscal Year] 2007”. Well fellas, you only have three months left! While for HTV updates go here.
As for China’s new launch complex for its next generation cryogenically fuelled rockets, the Chinese Communist party’s media organisations will spit out these statements from time to time. But Flight got to talk to a senior China National Space Administration official earlier this year and the Huinan location was not quite so firm then.
What has been of greater interest to the outside World has been what the Chinese spacesuit will look like as a spacewalk is the country’s proclaimed next manned mission.
For anyone trying to predict this it is an educated guessing game at the moment, although this video from China’s space programme prime contractor China Academy of Space Technology suggests it is a copy of the Russian Orlan suit.
While over at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology they are developing the Bio-Suit, a kind of elasticated space suit only previously seen in science fiction movies such as Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall.
I don’t know what the budget of that movie was but space.com’s David Leonard, one of the journalists you can usually find me hanging around with when I am in the US, has posted some sobering financial info about one of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory project.
Finally, another of the US aerospace publications, whose journalists I often bump into, has a slightly more grandiose claim about its blog contributors. Aviation Week and Space Technology’s On Space blog suggests that its contributors include none other than NASA administrator Michael Griffin and EADS Astrium chief executive Francois Auque. Only on closer inspection the contributions are actually one-off articles from AvWeek’s Sputnik anniversary special. Cheeky!