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BigJim
2003-Apr-07, 09:29 PM
The Chinese are planning to launch their Shenzou V spacecraft atop a Long March rocket in October 2003. It will carry their first astronaut, Chen Long.

Some are calling the Chinese astronauts "taikonauts." They plan to launch a manned space station and to execute a manned lunar landing within 15 years.

Would another space race be healthy for the nation? If not, can we bear the embarrassment of having them pull out our Apollo flags and replacing them with their own? Should we cooperate with them in LEO and make them an ISS partner?

I think that another space race would be good, as it would probably result in the creation of an American lunar base and possibly a manned mission to Mars. What do you think?

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http://www.astronautix.com/craft/chiatory.htm
http://www.astronautix.com/craft/shelunar.htm
http://www.astronautix.com/articles/china.htm
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ToSeek
2003-Apr-07, 09:37 PM
I don't think there's going to be much support for another space race unless the Chinese can come up with something that would actually surpass what the US has accomplished, like a manned mission to Mars.

Colt
2003-Apr-07, 10:13 PM
I think that something large would be required to gain the attention of the American public and get them behind another space race, say the Chinese stepping onto the moon. -Colt

nexus
2003-Apr-07, 10:21 PM
I really don't think we need to fight for space prestige with the Chinese. We landed on the moon over thirty years ago, I think our complete lack of inter-planetary manned exploration after 1972 (Or thereabouts) is a terrible waste, but rushing another manned lunar mission, just to beat the chinese is unecessary, I mean come on, havn't we pretty much won the "war" against communism. The Iron Curtain has fallen, the USSR has failed, we need to look forward, not backwards. If we need a new target we should look towards Mars, if we go back to the moon we shouldn't do it because of anyone else.

g99
2003-Apr-07, 11:01 PM
Yes, How else can we stimulate the public to spend their tax dollars on something they will never be able to persoanlly do or even see firsthand?

I think that the general public needs this to stimulate their interest in space. Competition in space will also boost technology and technology reaserch and eventually trickle down to us.

I wholehartedly agree.

daver
2003-Apr-07, 11:45 PM
I've seen arguments that the space race was in the long run a hindrance to the US space effort--it led to a great success and a great disillusionment. Slow and steady in this case may have been a better alternative. The current US approach should not be regarded as "slow and steady", however. More like resting on laurels. If you like pushing analogies way too far, resting on a pile of laurels as that pile slowly decomposes.

I think that in order to have a space presence that is more than a PR ploy, cheap access to space will be required. I don't see another race as accomplishing that, unless you can use the fear of losing as a way of overcoming some other fears (say, that of nuclear propulsion).

nexus
2003-Apr-07, 11:56 PM
Really (Or as I learned in History Class), the Space Race was just an early confrontation with Communism, after the ideological confrontations early in the Century, the land grabs right after WWII, and before the military confrontations (Most Notably Vietnam). When the Space Race began it had virtually nothing to do with the goal of space exploration. The Russians launched Sputnik for two reasons, one to prove they had better technology in general and two (And more importantly) to prove they had a basic ICBM. The Space Race eventually became more than just a fight with Russia, but that was basically why it got money. I think we should be appropriating money for Space Exploration, not for political means, but out of a genuine interest in the Universe, however I'm not sure what we have to do before people will be willing to give up Military, Welfare, etc, for this.

David Hall
2003-Apr-08, 11:16 AM
I'd love to see another surge into space, but I don't think a simple manned launch is going to do it, not now after it's become so commonplace. But I do hope and think that it will at least lead to more support from the public for the US manned spaceflight program, more money for NASA, and a renewed interest in space exploration in general. If the Chinese start looking like they're really serious about manned lunar missions, we might even see more interest in going back ourselves.

IOW, it would have to be something that threatens our "lead" in space to get us really moving again. A simple manned launcb won't do it, but it will get people thinking.

Glom
2003-Apr-08, 12:20 PM
I voted yes. Not that I have anything against the Chinese, but I'd like to see a spur to the US spaceflight effort. I think that the kind of crash program of Apollo wasn't necessarily great unto itself, but it did lay the groundwork for what could have been a great long term program. Don't underestimate how much someone can do when they're in a hurry.

gethen
2003-Apr-08, 12:24 PM
I voted no, only because I hate to see resources wasted on a duplication of things already accomplished. While I agree, competition might spur interest, cooperation would be smarter. But I guess I'm dreaming.

Glom
2003-Apr-08, 12:26 PM
Cooperation would of course be desirable, but I'm thinking that some perceieved political threat prompting a space race would actually get the green from Congress.

gethen
2003-Apr-08, 12:30 PM
Glom, you're cleary more practical than I, and you're also probably right.

Glom
2003-Apr-08, 12:31 PM
There's also another reason. I don't speak Chinese so I wouldn't be able to understand them.

gethen
2003-Apr-08, 12:38 PM
Actually, I studied Chinese for three or four years a long time ago. Hadn't thought of a space race as the opportunity to brush up on 30 year old Chinese.

Argos
2003-Apr-08, 03:14 PM
I think cooperation is the best way, in terms of self-sustainability in the process of concquering space. Duplication of efforts and resources is something harmful. We must not forget that, in spite of the current troubles in international relations, the large-scale integration of the planet in all the aspects of life is not an option. If we fail we´re doomed to destruction. So, I praise the coming of the Chinese, as well as other nations, to the process of building a peaceful and science-oriented international space society.

David Hall
2003-Apr-08, 03:32 PM
In a perfect world, cooperation would definitely be the way to go. But once again human nature rears it's ugly head and shows us that often it takes competition to really provide motivation for such humongously big and expensive projects.

Heck, the whole reason China has a space program in the first place is because they want to show the world that they're ready for the big time.

snowcelt
2003-Apr-08, 04:40 PM
I voted no because I think that the exploration, and ultimately explotation, of space is going to take a long range veiw point. If we are whip-sawed all over the place by emotion, little practical will come of it. If focus is maintained it will be easier to ensure steady funding; not just from the American budget, but other governments as well.

BigJim
2003-Apr-08, 09:51 PM
I think we should be appropriating money for Space Exploration, not for political means, but out of a genuine interest in the Universe, however I'm not sure what we have to do before people will be willing to give up Military, Welfare, etc, for this.

Agreed, but the main reason why we haven't really gone anywhere in space since Apollo 17 is that people aren't interested in it uless they perceive a threat to themselves.


I've seen arguments that the space race was in the long run a hindrance to the US space effort--it led to a great success and a great disillusionment. Slow and steady in this case may have been a better alternative.

I respect your opinion but totally disagree. I can't grasp how it was a hindrance- what was hindered? The shuttle program is a hindrance to further exploration of space. The space race brought out the best in us and our country. It provided a challenge, which isa lways needed for progress. If the Russians had not gone into space, we might not have head the Mercury program until the mid 1970s and we would probably have a Gemini-like program for Earth exploration now. The Moon would still be a far way off.

What we really need to do is start a race, win it, and then continue the program. Jet engines evolved in this way- they were born by a need to keep up with an enemy and evolved into mainstream use today.


If we need a new target we should look towards Mars, if we go back to the moon we shouldn't do it because of anyone else.
I agree Mars should be our national goal, but it might be possible to speed up that goal by way of the Second Space Race.


I think that something large would be required to gain the attention of the American public and get them behind another space race, say the Chinese stepping onto the moon.

Are you saying we should wait until they land to race them?

daver
2003-Apr-08, 10:57 PM
I've seen arguments that the space race was in the long run a hindrance to the US space effort--it led to a great success and a great disillusionment. Slow and steady in this case may have been a better alternative.

I respect your opinion but totally disagree. I can't grasp how it was a hindrance- what was hindered? The shuttle program is a hindrance to further exploration of space. The space race brought out the best in us and our country. It provided a challenge, which isa lways needed for progress. If the Russians had not gone into space, we might not have head the Mercury program until the mid 1970s and we would probably have a Gemini-like program for Earth exploration now. The Moon would still be a far way off.



The initial approach to space was low-profile, low-budget. When we adopted Apollo, we threw a lot of money at the problem. We didn't investigate any long-term solutions to problems (like a fully reusable shuttle or a manned space station)--we went for what would get us there fastest, regardless. The military manned space flight program was also a casualty.

The moon is still a long ways off. We're further from the moon now than we were in 1960. I wouldn't be too surprised if there wasn't another American mission to the moon in my lifetime. Disappointed, but not surprised.




What we really need to do is start a race, win it, and then continue the program. Jet engines evolved in this way- they were born by a need to keep up with an enemy and evolved into mainstream use today.



I'm not sure that the jet engine is a useful comparison. The jet engine had obvious advantages over piston engines (T/W, speed, fuel). The German jets, once they were in the air, were as superior to the Allied aircraft as a Mustang was to a Camel. If the jets had been developed a couple years earlier, the end of the war would have been a lot bloodier. Anyway, once a jet was flying its advantages were obvious (well, to everyone except Hitler). The same has not been true of manned space flight. So far its only economic justification seems to be tourism.

One of the problems with Apollo was that it was too easy to stop. There was no infrastructure left over--no moon base, no permanently manned station, no reusable launchers. There was nothing to be lost by stopping the funding.

In my opinion, the best way to open up space is to reduce cost to orbit by a couple orders of magnitude. There's nothing a space race is going to do to reduce this cost unless somehow the penalty for losing is so severe that Orion or the like start to look like a reasonable launch platform.

The first launch of a Saturn V put more mass into orbit than all the previous US space launches combined. It could be that a space race would create a market and a need for a big dumb booster that would reduce the cost to orbit by an order of magnitude. I think it more likely that it would engender a "win at any cost, money is not object (as long as it's < 2%GNP)" attitude. And the problem with "money is no object" approaches is that they produce "money is no object" solutions--i.e., expensive ones.

The X-Prize program was an attempt to work around one-shot PR projects. So far it hasn't created as much excitement as hoped.

BigJim
2003-Apr-09, 02:51 AM
I understand your viewpoint now. Although I think that we certainly could have turned Apollo into a lunar base - the problem was more Vietnam and public support than the design of the craft. There were many scenarios for creating a LM-based lunar base.

I think the X-Prize is an excellent idea. Unfortunately, though, until we get SSTOs with a turnaround time of two weeks or less, expendable space vehicles continue to be cheaper than reusable ones.




The moon is still a long ways off. We're further from the moon now than we were in 1960.

Mainly the fault of the small horizons of the shuttle program. I don't see this as a result of Apollo. If we started a program to return to the Moon or go to Mars now, hopefully we would first revive Apollo-type hardware, just to get there, (to beat the Chinese, of course) but then get a more permanent, Mars-Direct style spacecraft (Go to www.nw.net/mars and read Mars Direct: A Simple, Robust, and Cost Effective Architecture for the Space Exploration Initiative).




I'm not sure that the jet engine is a useful comparison. The jet engine had obvious advantages over piston engines (T/W, speed, fuel). The German jets, once they were in the air, were as superior to the Allied aircraft as a Mustang was to a Camel. If the jets had been developed a couple years earlier, the end of the war would have been a lot bloodier. Anyway, once a jet was flying its advantages were obvious (well, to everyone except Hitler). The same has not been true of manned space flight. So far its only economic justification seems to be tourism.


I think it is useful, though. An agressive program of manned space exploration and colonization has clear-cut advantages for virtually all aspects of our lives. The problem is "getting the jets into the air". I thus refine my analogy.

The current state of the state program is comparable to the first flight of the jet engine on an He-178 in 1939. The Apollo program was like this primitive jet; advanced but we were not ready for it, and we went back to building our piston engines. We need to move forward, into the era when jets totally dominate the skies.

roidspop
2003-Apr-09, 03:18 AM
I get the feeling that very few people on this forum have ever read anything about space colonization; moving substantial numbers of human beings off the planet and exploiting the resources of the moon and asteroid belt to supplement (or replace) terrestrial resources and to supply the Earth with cheap power, as well as giving the human race another venue in which to expand.

The Chinese seem to be mindful of O'Neill's writings and the studies done by various groups over the last few decades...they apparently understand that lunar resources could be the foundation upon which the future of advanced civilization might be built. I think this understanding has eluded the leadership in the US...I certainly remember Governor Brown being laughed to scorn over his endorsement of space colonization, and NASA basically declaring that it was a dead issue. The Chinese seem to have a different view of things.

If they were to declare that they intended to use the resources of the moon to build space colonies, power satellites and to support the exploitation of the asteroids, I wonder if the US might wake up and realize that inestimable wealth was about to slip into the "wrong" hands? We are very short-sighted after all, and I can imagine that we might ignore such a "threat" until the Chinese actually laid claim to the Moon (disregarding the likelihood of such a thing ever happening).

So, it may not be so much a political gesture the next time we go head-to-head with another nation over the moon...it may be more in a pragmatic vein.

beskeptical
2003-Apr-10, 10:48 AM
I'm not sure we can keep space science separate from space industry as much as it might have been in the past. Between satellite communications and eye in the sky technology, my guess is all countries as they modernize will need space technology.

And, I'm not sure there will be 'races' in the same way as in the past. Rather I think corporate influence and financing of private space technology will take on much of what was previously the government's role. That and corporate lobbying efforts to get as much taxpayer dollars for their business causes will have more impact than US-Chinese competition for appearances sake.

In the sixties, NASA and the Russian and Chinese equivilents were the mainstay of space exploration. Now I think it is much more commercial technology.

crazy4space
2003-Apr-10, 11:06 PM
Competition is always good for both sides, it stirs the imagination and allows free, radical thinking.

My initials are on the moon because Gene Cernan put them there.

beskeptical
2003-Apr-11, 01:20 AM
Competition is always good for both sides, it stirs the imagination and allows free, radical thinking.



Not to be seen as anti-competition but there can be too much of a good thing, sort of a law of diminishing returns. For example, new drugs are developed and competition motivates research. But when a drug is very successful, a lot of research goes into making similar products whether they are an improvement or not just to grab a bit of the market share.

dmcco01
2003-Apr-14, 09:35 PM
The US needs to go back to the moon, but not for a stop-over like the Apollo landings. We need to start working on establishing a colony there. While the X-Prize chase is fun to watch, we need to start moving towards having a reason to commercialize the space program. Reusable commercial launch vehicles won't be good for anything except orbital tourism unless we start moving towards something bigger in our ventures into space.

Zachary
2003-Apr-15, 12:40 PM
space race = $$$

$$$ = progress

progress = manned mission to Mars

Launch window
2005-Oct-15, 01:47 PM
Analysts debate China’s space ambitions
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9685481/
China’s reach into space, joining an elite club of nations setting their exploratory sights beyond Earth, is posing a serious challenge to the United States that could have military implications, analysts said.
China on Wednesday successfully launched its second manned space mission, albeit aboard a ship based on an old Soviet design, but Beijing does not plan to stop there.
An unmanned mission to the moon and even an orbiting space station are on the cards, at a time when the world’s top space superpower — the United States — is troubled by a space program often behind schedule and over budget.

Saturn5 from Beijing
http://en.chinabroadcast.cn/china/events/shenzhou6/index.htm
is that the Saturn-v type rocket I see in the pic ?

Remember first of all it took the West to invent stuff like Radio, the Steam Engine, Automobile, Soyuz, computers...
and then it took industrial Asian nations like S.Korea, Taiwan and Japan to mass produce the stuff and improve on it by making the stuff faster and at less cost
can the Chinese do the same by looking at the Russian and American ideas, and will China improve on it this time by not making the same mistakes

Disinfo Agent
2005-Oct-15, 09:32 PM
Should we enter a new space race with the Chinese?I guess this poll is only meant for Americans. ;)

genebujold
2005-Oct-16, 01:34 AM
Bush's push for us to establish a lunar base has everything to do with his prior knowledge of the Chinese spaceflight and their announcement today to establish a lunar base by 2010.

The moon is rich in H3, a critical requirement for efficient nuclear fusion. The energy per pound of refined H3 is utterly enormous.

World supplies of natural gas will dwindle to unuseable in less than 15 years, and we'll be out of oil in just 40 years.

Given the current, and rising absolutely utter dependance on energy for even the basics (food, water, clothing, shelter, etc.), and the fact that the Earth has long since passed the population point where it would support a non-energy, agrarian economy, it's clear that energy is absolutely necessary to our very survival.

While nuclear fusion is entirely capable of meeting the need over the next hundred years or so, the current political and economic situation is ripe at this time to jump to the next stage, fusion, which can supply us for the next 50,000 years or so. By that time, I'm certain we'll have found some alternative!

The political and economic situation may not be so ripe 40 years from now, and may actually get worse.

Thus, now's the time to strike - while the iron is hot! In other words, while we still can.

Carlos2006
2005-Oct-16, 11:43 PM
"Bush's push for us to establish a lunar base has everything to do with his prior knowledge of the Chinese spaceflight and their announcement today to establish a lunar base by 2010. "

do u have a link?

publiusr
2005-Oct-19, 07:19 PM
Saturn5 from Beijing
http://en.chinabroadcast.cn/china/events/shenzhou6/index.htm
is that the Saturn-v type rocket I see in the pic ?

There is a nice blurb about it on www.nasawatch.com

I made the mistake of listening to Drudge this weekend. He thought the shots of the touchdown were 'faked.' Later on that night on Coast to Coast, Hoagland corrected him and said that Drudge was confused by computer animation.

It's pretty bad when Hoagland has to correct you. Maybe Aldrin will do me the favor of punching Drudge out. He bashes spaceflight whenever he gets the chance.

Launch window
2006-Mar-05, 05:21 PM
China space walk, docking planned
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/english/doc/2006-02/26/content_524035.htm
Chinese space planners have outlined the objectives for the next several piloted Shenzhou missions. Next up is Shenzhou 7, China's third human spaceflight that will liftoff in 2008 and include a space walk.
Shenzhou 8 is set to showcase the ability to dock, with that expertise leading to China establishing its own space station.

China moon trip 15 years away
http://www.eitb24.com/portal/eitb24/noticia/en/sci/tech/china--next-manned-chinese-moon-mission-in-15-years?itemId=D16953&cl=%2Feitb24%2Fnuevas_tecnologias&idioma=en
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/BF9EAE16-09CB-4541-BE92-F62D6E229E73.htm
Tight budgets and the sheer technical challenge means that China will likely not put a man onthe moon for at least another 15 years, a senior Chinese space official said on Sunday.

Launch window
2006-Mar-22, 09:24 AM
U.S. Not Alone In It's Race For The Moon
http://cfn13.com/StoryHeadline.aspx?id=14177
President Bush and NASA have ambitions to return to the moon. However, it turns out the U.S. is not alone.

China says it plans to launch an unmanned mission to orbit the moon next year. That's set to be followed up by lunar landing in 2012.

Launch window
2007-Nov-27, 12:22 PM
Does the China card create a winning hand?
http://www.spacepolitics.com/2007/11/26/does-the-china-card-create-a-winning-hand/



A case in point is an editorial in today’s issue of Florida Today by John Glisch. Recalling the original Space Race between the US and USSR that caused President Kennedy to make his bold lunar mission goal, he writes:

Today, it may take that same kind of political gut-check by a new president to boost NASA’s return-to-the-moon plan or risk watching China plant the next flag on our celestial neighbor.

A potential accomplishment that’s already raising national security concerns as China continues its rise as a global economic and military power.

Later, he writes that such claims are “not bogus talk”. “Now leaders in Beijing are seriously pursuing ways to send taikonauts — their name for astronauts — to the moon before America’s scheduled return around 2020.”

Leaving aside the question for the time being of just how serious the consequences a Chinese-first human mission to the Moon would be, there’s the question of just how “seriously” China is pursuing a human lunar mission. Unfortunately for Glisch, his timing is bad:

China currently has no plan to send a man onto the moon, said Sun Laiyan, chief of the China National Space Administration, on Monday.

“I’ve read reports by foreign media saying that China would carry a manned moon landing in 2020, but I don’t think there has been such a plan,” Sun told a press conference in Beijing.

Larry Jacks
2007-Nov-27, 02:23 PM
China has a grand total of two manned launches under their belt. While they don't need to recreate the history of the US or Soviet space programs (their vehicle is already the about the same in capability of the early to middle versions of the Soyuz), they need to get a lot of space experience with things like rendezvous and docking, spacewalking, etc. before attempting a lunar mission.

Doodler
2007-Nov-27, 02:47 PM
China has a grand total of two manned launches under their belt. While they don't need to recreate the history of the US or Soviet space programs (their vehicle is already the about the same in capability of the early to middle versions of the Soyuz), they need to get a lot of space experience with things like rendezvous and docking, spacewalking, etc. before attempting a lunar mission.

All the hard work is done, really. The techniques and technology they will need to do a Moonshot have already been worked out. All it requires of the Chinese is more intellectual property theft and outright plagarism to reconstruct the US effort.

Sorry to sound cynical, but I'm not overly impressed by a nation known more for its cheap knock offs than its innovations.

Noclevername
2007-Nov-27, 02:54 PM
To answer the OP, If I thought it would actually motivate the U.S. government to pour some real money into NASA, I'd be all for the idea of a new Space Race (wasn't that a Hanna-Barbara cartoon in the 80s?). But sadly, it won't. The majority of our Gloryless, I mean Glorious, Leaders still tend to think of China (despite how much our own economy now depends on them) as a third-world backwater. This antique attitude prevents them from taking the big C seriously as a threat in any high-tech endeavor, especially one in which they're still behind us (but moving up fast!).

Let's hope China makes some rapid enough progress to embarass our upper class into really fighting for the title belt again.

jkmccrann
2007-Dec-01, 10:24 AM
To answer the OP, If I thought it would actually motivate the U.S. government to pour some real money into NASA, I'd be all for the idea of a new Space Race (wasn't that a Hanna-Barbara cartoon in the 80s?). But sadly, it won't. The majority of our Gloryless, I mean Glorious, Leaders still tend to think of China (despite how much our own economy now depends on them) as a third-world backwater. This antique attitude prevents them from taking the big C seriously as a threat in any high-tech endeavor, especially one in which they're still behind us (but moving up fast!).

Let's hope China makes some rapid enough progress to embarass our upper class into really fighting for the title belt again.

Some very worrying statements you make there - are you suggesting the US is slipping into a complacent and comfortable situation vis-a-vis the only country that could possibly challenge US pre-eminence (especially in terms of Space, but you can take a wider-viewpoint relating to other things as well) in the next 50 years?

This is a kind of lazy indulgence that has been seen before throughout history, and we all know what generally happens in these situations. Before you know it - whoosh! Things have changed and you're no longer the king of the world!