Sep 292011
 

A rocket carrying China’s first space laboratory, Tiangong-1, has launched from the north of the country.

The Tiangong-1 is an itty-bitty thing and currently unmanned… but it’s better than any NASA space stations currently in orbit (of which there are none).

So, congrats to China.

 Posted by at 4:20 pm
  • Tom

    Last time I checked, the International Space Station was still in orbit.

    • admin

      Yes. The *INTERNATIONAL* space station. Not the *NASA* space station. Even though it was built with NASA labor and funds, it’s much more a State Department program than a NASA one. I doubt the Chinese space station will be built with an eye to international partnership and co-operation.

      • Tom

        Well, it is truly a shame that you would rather be nationalistic and earthbound than human and in space.

        By the by, the various space projects depicted in 2001 were international, so…perhaps you shouldn’t be the one building that model.

        • admin

          > it is truly a shame that you would rather be nationalistic and earthbound than human and in space.

          No, I’d rather be a nationalistic human in space. Nationalism leads to competition. Competition leads to progress. “Internationalism” has led to stagnation.

          And lest you drone on about how nationalism leads to war… national pride could easily lead to a competition in space in much the same way that national pride led to an aerospace competition between the likes of the USA, Britain and France after WWII. National pride could lead to a space race between the USA and China, in which case *everybody* wins.

          > the various space projects depicted in 2001 were international,

          No, they weren’t. The space programs of “2001” were quite nationalistic. The NCA controlled Clavius Base, for instance, and had recently denied landing rights to a Soviet moonbus with mechanical troubles. “Discovery” was entirely American. The Soviets had al least one moon base of their own. The satellites shown orbiting the earth were all clearly emblazoned with national flags and symbols… American, Chinese and German, to name three. The Space Station V was apparently a *commercial* venture. You know, *capitalism.* So I’m the *perfect* one to be working on that model.

          • Tom

            You’ve completely forgotten the message of 2001 and all subsequent novels: the importance of humanity working together regardless of petty national differences.

            And practically the message in all of his novels. It is insulting to suggest that Clarke thought nationalism was the key to humanity’s success in space.

          • 1. Admin is right and you are wrong.

            2. 2001 had no overt message. It was made as an entertainment for a mass audience.

            3. “Petty national differences” are not an obstacle to international cooperation. Important difference between nations should be and are obstacles.

            4. The late Sir Arthur Clarke, while a talented writer of fiction, was not a historian, nor was he a geographer, an anthropoligist, or a philosopher. In fact, he was not a particularly deep thinker on any subject outside of his areas of technical expertise. His views on nationalism, while of interest to those curious about his opinions on issues of the day, are of no deep import.

            5. Your own views on nationalism, while of interest to those curious about your opinions on issues of the day, are of no deep import.

            XD-1 TRANSMISSION CONCLUDED

          • Jordan

            What we need in this country is a strong Pro-American Nationalist movement. Then I hope it spreads to each and every country in the world where each country have their own Pro-XXX Nationalist movements.

            Then we can start cooperating where it really matters.

            Can you imagine where the countries of the world could go if each and every one of them focused on getting a foothold in space?

            Yes, Arthur C. Clarke’s works were heavily nationalistic, pro-American/Pro-Western. But even he recognized the importance of competition and cooperation.

          • admin

            > You’ve completely forgotten the message of 2001 and all subsequent novels: the importance of humanity working together regardless of petty national differences.

            Actuslly, it is *you* who seem to have forgotten the message of “2001.” Remember the beginning of the movie. The aliens came to Earth and *apparently* tinkered slightly with “Moonwatcher.” Made him slightly more clever, perhaps. What did he do with his cleverness? Used it to create a weapon, which he promptly used to wage war upon his tribes enemies. The weapon, a bone, was famously tossed into the air… where a quick editing cut turned the bone-weapon into an orbiting weapons platform (the Chinese one, IIRC). A series of shots of other orbiting bomb platforms follows, followed by the Orion III shuttle heading towards the station. Moonbase, TMA-1, XD-1, cut to “2010,” when the Soviets, USA and China are all racing to Jupiter to figure out WTF. When the Sovs and USAians get to Jupiter, it goes *foom,* they head home, peace and love kumbaya.

            But how did humanity get to the point where we could receive this message from “the landlords?” By competing our way to Jupiter.

            >. It is insulting to suggest that Clarke thought nationalism was the key to humanity’s success in space.

            Whether Clarke thought so or not is irrelevant. Competition – including national competition – *is* the way to the stars.

  • Rick

    “American parts, Russian parts, all made in China!”

    sorry couldn’t help the paraphrase

    • oval

      You misquoted. It was “made in Taiwan”, not “made in China”

  • Jeff Wright

    Not really a lot different from the Soyuz launcher Russian mini hotel-station concept. The next Long March is Proton Ariane V class.

    This LV was R-7–to–Zenit class IIRC.

  • Joe

    Their Shenzhou capsule resembles a slightly larger Soviet Soyuz, so I imagine their Tiangong-1 will resemble a Soviet Salyut, the predecessor to Mir. Better somebody goes exploring than nobody goes.