China’s third manned space mission, Shenzhou-7, launched yesterday at 13:10 UTC with 3 taikonauts onboard. They are only staying in orbit for 68 hours, less than 3 days. The spacewalk will take place between the 29th and 30th orbits of Earth and last for around 20 minutes.
- CollectSPACE.com forum: China’s Shenzhou VII mission
- NASASpaceflight.com forum: LIVE: Shenzhou 7 Launch Day Updates
- “Russian experts to support China’s first spacewalk”, RIAN, 24/9
- “China launches riskiest space mission yet”, Space Daily, 25/9
A trivia note is that this is the first Shenzhou with a toilet!
No toilet was on board of the previous two manned spaceships. The men had to wear diapers. But this time a toilet is set up. The toilet seat is tailor-made to the astronauts’ physiques and it also includes a separate urinal.
From Novosti Kosmonavtiki news №731:
26/9/2008/00:05 – Roskosmos believes China is not a competitor but a partner
China’s space program is not considered by Roskosmos as a competitor. “We do not see China as a competitor rather see it our partner in the exploration of outer space,” said Aleksander Vorobyov, the head of the Roscosmos press service on Thursday, commenting on the launch of China’s third manned spacecraft Shenzhou-7 with three cosmonauts.
He congratulated China on the successful launch, recalling that the Russian and Chinese space agencies are cooperating on a wide range of works, including the first EVA of Chinese astronauts into space. One of the spacesuits on the ship Shenzhou-7, was produced in Russia.
In the coming years, Russia and China will organize joint projects of the exploration of Mars and the Moon with automated spacecraft. The project “Phobos-Grunt”, whose main task is to deliver to Earth samples of soil Martian satellite Phobos, the Russian interplanetary station will carry a Chinese autonomous vehicle to carry out Martian research. In turn, Russian specialists are directly involved in the Chinese lunar research program (orbiting, photography, landing on the surface, sampling soil and delivering it to Earth).
26/9/2008/00:05 – Russia needs to reorient its space program to co-operate with China
Russia should think about strengthening its co-operation in space with China, said a member of the K.E. Tsiolkovskii Russian Academy of Space.
“Today we need to think about who are our key partners in space. Perhaps the time has come to switch our focus from the West to the East. Economic, technological and political centers are concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region, where a vigorously developing China, Japan and South Korea are located,” a Russian expert, Aleksandr Ionin, commented during the launch of the third manned Chinese spacecraft.
In this context, said A. Ionin, the decision to build a cosmodrome in the Far East from a strategic perspective is the right step. He called for increasing cooperation with China in space. “Our country, unlike the U.S., does not suffer the affliction of an ambitious world leader and is ready to engage in manned and unmanned space,” said A. Ionin.
According to him, launching China’s third manned spacecraft during the flight of which a taikonaut will attempt an EVA, “this is a big step for China, but a small accomplishment for the world of space. In today’s world, beginning of EVA, which the Soviet Union and the U.S. have carried out more than 40 years ago, is a normal activity,” said the expert.
A development for a protective Martian diet:
26/09/2008/00:05 – Cosmonauts going to Mars will drink “light water” during the flight
Cosmonauts on the interplanetary flights may drink “light water” – water from which has been removed the heavy hydrogen isotopes and oxygen and possessing positive biological side-effects, which in particular, provide protection from radiation, Russian scientists said.
As the professor of the Institute of Biomedical Problems Yurii Sinyak reported at the conference in Moscow, dedicated to the development of life-support system for space flights, studies showed that “light water”, where deuterium and heavy oxygen are absent or their content considerably lowered, on the contrary, possess a number of useful biological properties.
In the experiments at the IMBP it was shown that light water protects from radiation: mice that received a significant radiation dose, had the longer lifetime, if they drank light water.
Furthermore, the anti-carcinogenic properties of light water was discovered; experiments showed that it slows down an increase in some types of tumors.
In experiments on Japanese quail birds, those that drank light water had a higher weight.
Professor Yurii Sinyak noted that studies of water with the changed isotopic composition began from the study of melt water, which also possessed a number of useful properties. He expressed the opinion that these properties were connected precisely with its isotopic special features.
“We decided to completely remove deuterium and then to verify how it worked. Then they began to remove heavy oxygen. They decided to test on plants, then on animals and finally man, to explain its anti-carcinogenic and anti-radiation properties,” said the agency representative.
He explained that the anti-radiation properties of light water are especially important for space flights. “If we fly to Mars, there there is no shielding from magnetic belts (Earth is protected from the cosmic rays by its magnetic field); therefore the danger will considerably higher for cosmonauts. It is necessary to search for methods both chemical and mechanical to reduce such radiation exposure,” said the professor. At the same time he emphasized that “everything which in space is achieved, is applicable on the Earth.”
(Article also at the Russian Federal Space Agency site, in Russian: «Космонавты в полете на Марс будут пить легкую воду», 25/9/2008)
NASA administrator Michael Griffin has described extending the service life of the hopelessly outdated shuttles, costing an additional $4 billion, as a jihad. Hence, he believes, the first and most obvious likelihood is that there will be no American astronauts or cosmonauts from U.S. or international partners on the space station after December 31, 2011. Only Russians will be there, he said.
The American concern has not a leg to stand on: Russia has always been noted for the scrupulous observance of its commitments. It never broke them even during the Cold War. Still, it will not give free rides to the Americans. The problem needs to be solved before 2009: Russian ships have a two-year production cycle.
Russia does not yet believe that the Americans can quit a multi-billion dollar project and let down their European, Canadian and Japanese partners. What’s more, Griffin said the ISS’s life could be extended beyond the established deadline of 2015. He said the U.S. was committed to building and using the station for most of the next decade. He added that the ISS held the main niche in U.S. space policy over the coming years and that medical and biological research on it would contribute to future Moon and Mars expeditions.
Typical of the negative attitude of many towards such co-operation is this post at NASASpaceflight.com, from the generation who grew up during the worst of the Cold War. Perhaps when my generation and those following (born in the 1970s onwards) are in power this nonsense will fade into the past?
I am in my 38th year as an engineer, I have worked Apollo, Shuttle and part time with Constellation. I normally only comment about the orbiters on this fine website as there’s a heart warming amount of interested people. However for the first time in my career I am now considering immediate retirement.
This is related to the passing of the INKSNA waiver, because NASA, and the U.S. showed how weak we are to countries like Russia, Iran and anyone else who have little regard for us.
Led by Mike Griffin, and a number of gullible politicians, we have sacrificed not only our domestic manned launch capability, but we have roadblocked domestic options to bridge the gap, with no regard for national security.
Well, you only have yourselves (namely, clueless U.S. politicians) to blame!
The next time Russia invades an ally of the U.S. and we see lots of angry reaction from the elected few, turn off the television, because they are liars.
More accurately, “when Russia responded to the Georgian invasion of South Ossetia”, but who cares about the facts? And since when was Georgia such an important ally anyway?
We’ve just approved billions of tax payers dollars to be taken out of the pockets of hard working American engineers, and into the pockets of the regime in Moscow. I’m old enough to remember the Soviet threats to my family and myself and a leopard does not change its spots, as we have seen recently. The message is “invade as many of our allies as you wish, we’ll stamp and shout, but we’ll also happily keep writing checks. Feel free to tell us to sit down and be a good USA.”
Griffin will tell you Shuttle is at the risk of a 1/8 chance of a disaster: An insult to the hundreds of engineers who have worked tirelessly after Columbia, which was a FREAK accident, and people like myself who have worked hard after Challenger, which was a FREAK accident, to ensure over 100 safe missions. And you think Soyuz is safe? It nearly killed its crew on the last two landings.
Two “freak” accidents? Perhaps indicative of design flaws? The Soyuz isn’t 100% safe either, but the two off-nominal ballistic landings were back-up modes and they certainly did not “nearly kill” their crew (though they caused some discomfort).
I won’t bother to post a snarky reply in that thread as it will likely just get deleted.