China gets a man into space at last ! Some of you old folk might just
remember way way back when the U.S.A. got John Glen into space to show the
Russians they also had mad guys willing to ride a slowly exploding bomb into
space. I dont think this Chinese ' Tygonaught ' ? was even born when that
was going on.
( always in awe of America - without being too condescending )
Well, a bit of perspective, China may be coming late to the party,
but as usual they've found a way to do things cheaper, and perhaps
smarter. Their entire space program runs on a budget of under
$1.5 billion per year. The US is spending $28 billion this year,
and has to hitch a ride with the Russians to put a man in space.
Well, how much of that $28 billion is spent on redundant systems and
backup/safety issues? Down the road a bit, I can see China selling the
world very cheap global communications services(using satellite tec) that
will financially cripple related US industries who must pay a minimum wage,
meet OSHA, clean air etc etc.
Most of it is spent on the "standing army" ($5 billion a year for even
a non-flying Shuttle, for example). The one thing that's cheap in China
is standing armies.
The Chinese are also not as risk averse as the US has become. They
have a lot of the "can do" spirit the US has lost. Even so, their flight
safety record (unmanned up until now) is on a par with the Russians
(who up until now have had the best record), and better than that of
the US (who has killed the most astronauts).
For sure. Long March is already the least expensive satellite launch
system in the world. It has a very good record too. The main thing
keeping it from grabbing most of the current launch business is
technology export rules which forbid most US satellites from being
sent to China to be launched on it. When China starts making the
satellites locally, that obstacle will be circumvented.
The Chinese are very serious about space. They plan to have their
own space station, trips to the Moon and Mars, and an aggressive
commercial space program. They also plan to do it relatively quickly,
and relatively cheaply. They have a good chance of achieving their
goals. They've observed the wrong directions taken by the US space
program, and learned what not to do.
More importantly they won't have the pansies asking why money is being spent
on a folly when people are starving on the ground. They realize that if
you're starving, you shouldn't be having more kids,....
Yeah, like the backup/safety systems that prevent shuttles from blowing up
on launch when the weather is too cold...err...oops, scratch that!
Yeah, like the backup/safety systems that prevent shuttles from burning up
on re-entry if a couple of tiles get damaged...err...oops, scratch that!
The question I have is: how much of that $28 billion is spent on redundant
bureaucracy and bloated administration/rice-bowl issues?
NASA might not be perfect, but at least a free press means you get to see
their dirty laundry eventually. You dont get the Chinese Government covering
up - but why should they bother when you're not allowed to ask questions in
the first place !
Sort of depends upon your definition. The X-15 pilots were definitely high
enough to get astronaut wings, but that would take the glory away from the
Mercury project, so we have just sort of forgotten them. Our revisionist
How many fool people would ever ride a rocket into space that said "Made in
China" on it. Of course if something went wrong they would probably just
shoot everybody that was remotely responsible.
If us Americans would STOP buying all the chinese crap it would put a quick
end to china's cash flow. Then we wouldn't be worried about what the chinese
Yes, I love that old X-15 rocket plane ( which I think Neil Armstrong got to
drive a few times ). And there is a story about the definition of where
space starts being changed once the X-15 had been higher than any other
reusable craft. They slapped on another couple of tens of thousands of feet
to get the X-15 project out of the record books. It was a fight between NASA
( called something else back then ) and the Air Force.
( often wrong, occassionally appologises )