Sep 27, 2011

China Kickstarts New Space Race

Since they were were left off the guest list to join the ISS, China's decided to go it alone. They're going to launch the first module of it's very own space station, the Tiangong (Heavenly Palace), by the end of this month. The initial launch will be unmanned, delivering an 8.5-ton module ready for docking practice and other interactions with three more spacecraft that are planned to join it later this year.

Pegged for completion by 2020 and with a complete weight of over 60 tons, the Tiangong will look positively petite compared to the hulking 419-ton ISS, but is also said to be significantly cheaper. Sure, Chinese labor and zero safety makes it a pennies to the dollar!

Just hope that goes a little better than their high-speed rail project, eh?

The jokes on the rest of the world, they'll build space stations to build space ships -- which is what the US had originally intended to do way back in 1972 with the Shuttle program. [Citation needed, but I saw it on a conceptual animation that also said we'd have bases on the moon by 2001]

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