Thursday, September 29, 2011

One small step for China, one impossible step for America: Falling behind in space

I told myself I wouldn't get distracted with these little posts today, but this story gets to me. Hooray for China! Now, why the hell can't the U. S. figure it out.

This nails it, for me... "It's not driven so much by science, but by the desire to develop new technologies."  And what can we do with new technologies?  Sell them.  And what does product development and the manufacturing and marketing of new technologies do for a struggling economy?  These things create jobs!

Oh yeah, and there is that whole optimism and hope thing too.

Sure, it could be said that right now they are only repeating steps that NASA took 30 years ago.  But we've, pretty much been sitting on our asses for 20 years, so they are not that far behind overall and right now, bottom line, they can put people in space and we cannot.  They are ahead and they win, for now, at least.

In a related post to follow, I think Story Musgrave does a great job putting words to many of my own concerns about the current state of the U. S. space program.

BBC News - Rocket launches Chinese space lab
"China is investing billions of dollars in its space programme. It has a strong space science effort under way, with two orbiting satellites having already been launched to the Moon. A third mission is expected to put a rover on the lunar surface. The Asian country is also deploying its own satellite-navigation system known as BeiDou, or Compass.

Bigger rockets are coming, too. The Long March 5 will be capable of putting more than 20 tonnes in a low-Earth orbit. This lifting muscle, again, will be necessary for the construction of a space station.

"There are loads of ideas floating around, and they're serious about implementing them," said UK space scientist John Zarnecki, who is a visiting professor at Beihang University, the new name for the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

"There's a sense of great optimism. It's not driven so much by science, but by the desire to develop new technologies. The money is there, although it's not limitless. And they're taking it step by step," he told BBC News."

'via Blog this'

BBC News - China launches space lab into orbit"The 10.5m-long, cylindrical module will be unmanned for the time being, but the country's astronauts, or yuhangyuans, are expected to visit it next year.

Tiangong-1 will demonstrate the critical technologies needed by China to build a fully fledged space station - something it has promised to do at the end of the decade."

'via Blog this'

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