China’s Shenzhou has 10-day on orbit capability

by | Jan 7, 2009 | China, exploration | 1 comment

long march 5.JPG

credit CCTV9 / caption: China’s LOX/LH2 fuelled Long March 5 rocket animation 

Members of China’s Manned Space Engineering office (which seems to be an organisation operated jointly by the China National Space Administration and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA)) visited the UK recently

Hyperbola has gleaned a few details from their discussions here and can confirm that other reports of a spacelab module called Tiangong-1 being launched around 2011 with subsequent dockings by Shenzhou craft are broadly correct

China’s Shenzou spacecraft is 13% larger than the Russian Soyuz, the spacecraft is evolving as mission demands change and its next few missions will be about using the new spacelab Tiangong-1

From 2011 Tiangong-1 will lead to a “growing experimental research facility” that Shenzhou’s orbital modules could dock with and remain attached to the space lab after the re-entry capsules have returned to Earth. The Shenzhou missions 8, 9 and 10 are expected to carry out this orbital module docking

The new liquid oxygen, liquid hydrogen fuelled Long March 5 rocket, expected to be in operation by 2015, will be used to orbit larger 20,000kg-plus modules for what is likely to be a Mir-like Chinese space station that would be in operation by 2020

Whether this means the first module will be launched in 2020 or if it will see Tiangong-1 becoming the “Zarya/Unity” module for the envisaged space station, with additional modules added from 2015 once the Long March 5 is flying is not clear 

  

China has no immediate plans to select more astronauts until the permanent station was due to be launched (makes sense with a 2020 launch as ESA has astronaut selection every 10-years or so) and these future astronauts were likely to be engineers and scientists, not PLA pilots; a welcome move to a less militaristic manned space programme

There was a suggestion that the Long March 5 could enable a lunar sling-shot or orbital mission as Shenzou is said to have a 10-day spaceflight capability with three astronauts onboard. Does this mean that Long March 5 is to be “man rated” or would it be a double launch with a Long March 2F launching a Shenzhou after a Long March 5 launched an EDS? However there were also questions about Shenzou’s lunar return heat-shield and re-entry capabilities for lunar missions

Although the PLA has significant involvement in the manned space programme it is now under the control of the office of the Prime Minister

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Axiom “orders” two space station modules from Thales Alenia Space initially for attachment to ISS but later to become part of own space station

Thales Alenia Space, the joint Venture between Thales (67 %) and Leonardo (33 %) has announced the signature of an Read more

COTS gets 60% hike in funds with total hitting $800 million plus

NASA's first commercial foray, the commercial orbital transportation services progamme, also known as COTS, has seen a 60% hike in Read more

Follow Hyperbola on twitter and watch news break

Don't forget you can follow Hyperbola on twitter @flighthyperbola and get sneak previews of flightglobal.com stories to come, breaking news Read more

WORLD EXCLUSIVE PICTURES: China’s space station concept

These Chinese space station concepts were presented by China Manned Space Engineering deputy general designer Wang Zhonggui at International Astronautical Read more

OFFICIAL: 2016 launch of pure-Russian ACTS

A prime contractor is to be picked for Russia's Advanced Crew Transportation System (ACTS) following a meeting of the Russian Read more

The new X-38/CRV: SpaceX’s Dragon?

For those of you who didn't spot it in my colleague John Croft's NASA commercial resupply services (CRS) analysis Space Read more

NFL in orbit?

The economic power of sports can't be ignored, if you're not convinced by American Football's Superbowl extravaganza's 30s tv advert Read more

Endeavour’s pilot window struck by orbital debris

On 16 November 2008 NASA astronaut Eric Boe, STS-126 pilot, occupies the pilot's station on the forward flight deck of Read more

Cookies & Privacy

Click here to read about use of cookies on the website

Categories

Archives