May I be the first to say
Welcome to the 1960's!
China's Chang'e-5 probe has successfully landed on the Moon following its separation and descent from a spacecraft in lunar orbit. The news was trumpeted by Chinese state media and confirmed by enthusiasts looking out for signals from the spacecraft. #Breaking: The Chang'e-5 successfully landed on the near side of moon, China …
China may be far behind the Soviet/Russian space programme when it comes to automated docking, but it appears they beat the USA by a few years.
(Russia 1967, ESA 2008, China 2011, USA 2019. Corrections welcome, NASA did try an automated docking earlier but it failed and I can't spot a reflight)
The Americans may have been keen on docking, but that was all manually flown. The first successful American docking was in 1966 (Neil Armstrong, Gemini 8) but that was flown manually. NASA continued to use manual docking throughout the Apollo, SkyLab and Space Shuttle programs.
The Russians had an automated docking system up and running first. Its first use was in 1967 and they have used automated docking systems ever since. The only change has the replacement of their original Igla docking system by the current Kurs system.
AFAIK the first US automated docking occurred as part of the first manned SpaceX Crew Dragon 2 mission to the ISS earlier this year.
Notice the difference between the old US missions and the Chinese? Not to wish them ill - anybody doing space stuff is great in my books. But...
The US put their missions on live TV, to show both failures and successes as they happened. The Chinese made sure that it successfully landed before announcing it. A little insecurity there, it would seem.
Yep, their government/dictator are a shower of cunts. But the Chinese people who worked on this are more or less the same as the engineers in Russia, Europe, India, USA who accomplished similar. Dedicated, educated, intelligent and hard working.
Fair play to them, I wish these folk all the best and many future successes.
It's not so different from the US. We happily talk about NASA's fine achievements, but tend to avoid mentioning that when Neil and Buzz did land on the Moon, they were congratulated by President... Nixon.
So congratulations to the Chinese Space Program. It's a great achievement.
Yes, it IS a great achievement, notwithstanding the possibly inappropriate comparisons with others nations. What I don't understand, or like, at all, is the deliberate use of the wholly unnecessary snide verb verb 'trumpeting' in the original article. The men and women whose efforts lead to this achievement are just as 'good' as any from the west and are deserving of accolades irrespective of what we have been taught to think about their government and its officers.
Original AC again: I should have added another point about NASA and its great achievements in the 60s. Many of them were due to Wernher von Braun and his fellow countrymen. Their past (and their politics) were, shall we say, a little problematic?
Does reading about the horrors suffered by the slaves at Peenemunde invalidate what NASA achieved?
"Does reading about the horrors suffered by the slaves at Peenemunde invalidate what NASA achieved?"
Interestingly, Apple TV's alternative-history drama series "For All Mankind" (where the USSR landed cosmonauts on the moon first) asks that very question (although it doesn't really answer it).
I enjoyed the series very much; it's well worth watching if you have any interest in space exploration, in my opinion. Whether it's quite enough to justify spending money on an Apple TV subscription if you don't have a free one is perhaps another question, however.
The Russians were somewhat coy about their launches and landings too, before they did the joint mission with NASA which had the two countries' spacecraft docking over Bognor Regis. The USA's missions were run by the civilian body NASA, so could not be so secret (although the DoD's shuttle launches and landings were not televised, I believe).
I imagine that the Chinese space program could possibly use this as a test to try to return samples from the surface of Mars in the next few years.
The Soviets were secretive about everything because they were trying to hide their weakness. The Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact were no match for NATO and the United States, but by keeping everything under wraps people and politicians in the West began to make up their own reality and imagined a Communist takeover.
I'm pretty sure the Russians were never really sure that if war broke out that they could rely on Warsaw Pact allies like Poland and Hungary to do their part. They might've simply turned around and started fighting the Soviet forces.
The Soviets did have nukes, but only a very limited number and even fewer rockets to deliver them. But in the West people imagined the Soviets cranking out nukes and rockets like "sausages" (Khrushchev's quote).
That and the Military Industrial Complex who were always talking up the Soviet threat kept us in a costly arms race for well over half a century.
No, they did an endless series of press conferences spanning the whole mission, which didn't get reported in the west:
The moon is kinda boring. You have to send people, with sad-backstories, to be TV worthy these days.
[added]Just spitballing here: "I'm a celebrity get me out of here special", winner gets to come back. A rating winner!
> The US put their missions on live TV, to show both failures and successes as they happened.
Chang'e 5's launch was publicly aired, as were most other high-profile Chinese space missions. I'm not sure how the landing could have been put "on live TV" though.
> The Chinese made sure that it successfully landed before announcing it.
Should they claim a success before they have confirmed it?
> A little insecurity there, it would seem.
Nah, bro. Just admit you're just a racist pig who wish to see them fail.
Is this the same India that got a handout from this spineless government of £98 million (2018/2019 and 2019/2020 combined *)
At home, thousands of hard working families are really struggling to make ends meet, I'm one of them. You have 25,000 workers in Arcadia and Debenhams (RIP) on their last paypacket with tax deductions, which also covers a contribution to overseas aid.
Charity must begin at home, a rocket from India or food on the UK tables, You decide.
* Department For International Development UK.GOV.UK (AKA The soft touch brigade)
Apart from the fact that the Indian Govt doesn't get any UK aid - although we do spend on aid to India which isn't exactly the same.
Exactly where do you put your boundaries? Presumably not at the front door of Marks Towers? So 'home' is county? country? nation?. And how do we balance relative levels of need? Should danger of death trump economic hardship? Presumably you are just as upset about the money spent on donkey sanctuaries in the UK (£48 million in 2018 for just one Donkey charity)?
Given that all the cr*p that our current Govt is lining us up for from 1st January is meant to be about global Britain and trade, investing modest amounts in helping the development of markets in potential partners might just be quite a good idea?
If you are that concern about money going abroad, maybe you wouldn't if worked for a tax dodging scumbag?
I feel sorry for everyone loosing their jobs (I was very close a few months ago), but taking the moral high ground when helping shit bag con artists make money, is hardly appealing.
The UK government aid for India is for basic infrastructure - water, sanitation, etc.
While the Indian government is spending roughly an equivalent amount of their money on a rocket industry.
So, in completely economic terms, the UK has offshored their rocket industry, with none of the kudos or scientific benefits.
Part of me thinks that the coolest thing about the Chang'e 5 mission is that it's essentially a step-by-step retread of the Apollo missions, only in miniature (well, a bit smaller). One major change being that they didn't have to do the weird flip of the lander with the command module before reaching lunar orbit as was the case with the Apollo missions.
It's also great to see the Chinese space agency working together with ESA on the tracking of the mission, while providing more live coverage of the launch and landing than ever before. It's a good sign of less paranoia and distrust from both sides.
As Twisted Sister once said "I wanna rock, I want 2 rocks!"
Curious what it'll be collecting, ie will it be effectively a 2m core sample. Which I guess could provide a useful foundation for potential lunar bases. I look forward to seeing the results from studying the samples anyway. It's something I find both fascinating and slightly disappointing. So I started reading SF as a kid, and the idea of mysterious new elements later became tempered by boring reality.. But that's still fascinating, ie how the Moon formed, and how it's geology and mineral content differs from Earths. And the same applies to Mars & how potential colonies could become self-sufficient.