It is just over a year since my first entry (20/10/2006). The blog is not exactly hugely popular, either because I am too boring or no one is interested. Or both. Oh, well.
A news roundup:
China launched its first lunar orbiter, Chang’e 1, on 4 October. If China can do this, why can’t Russia?
“Russians blast off without space pistol”, Guardian, 15/10. “Russia is sending a cosmonaut into space without a fearsome triple-barrelled ‘space pistol’ for the first time in 20 years, due to a shortage of ammunition.” Yurii Malenchenko is instead taking a normal pistol/handgun.
“Giant leap looming for womankind”, MSNBC.com, 20/10. “It will be the first time in the 50-year history of spaceflight that two women are in charge of two spacecraft at the same time.” I grumbled about Russia’s dismal failing in this area in my previous 16/10 entry.
Soyuz TMA-10 landed at 10:36 UTC on 21 October after undocking from Zvezda at 07:14. There was a glitch when the computers for some as-yet undetermined reason switched to the backup, automatically controlled ballistic descent mode, which imposes higher g-forces on the crew.
“Back in the Space Race: Russian Revival Raises New Questions”, Moscow News, 18/10. NASA’s dependence on Russia for manned space access after the Shuttle retires could become a problem if Russia’s plans change or U.S.-Russian relations become tense. Security at the Baikonur launch site is also an issue (as well as the future of the complex itself) – James Oberg wrote an article about it at The Space Review last year: “Earthly threats for a spaceport”, 26/6/2006.
On October 4, with Russia and the U.S. apparently unable to do more than talk about flights to the Moon, China, strictly on schedule, launched a Long March 3A rocket carrying the satellite Chang-e 1 on a mission to map the Moon’s surface.
“Two women spacecraft commanders: the meaning of the meeting”, James Oberg, The Space Review, 29/10. Mentions the issues on Russia’s attitude towards women in space grumbled about in my previous entry.