[FPSPACE] Delay in SZ6 launch
molniya at dircon.co.uk
Fri Jun 4 02:16:58 EDT 2004
Ever since it was stated that SZ6 would be launched in 2005, I have believed (and said to anyone who was interested as well as including in British Interplanetary Society papers) that the current five-year plan called for the first two manned flights. SZ5 accomplished the first manned fligfht - maybe a little earlier that expected - and the second is due towards the end of the current five year plan.
While the Chinese have ruled out a docking as part of the SZ6 manned mission, I think that if they can get SZ7 off the pad in early 2006 they could try a docking with the unmanned SZ6 orbital module which should have an orbital lifetime of ~8 months, depending upon solar activity. To be safe I believe that there can be no more than ~5 months between launches for SZ(X+1) to dock with the orbital module from SZ(X).
And the Chinese have strongly hinted that an EVA is planned for SZ7.
This could lead up to the establishment of a small ~10 tonnes orbital lab - launched atop a CZ-2F - in time for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 (the first time in my life that I have a sporting event on my mind !).
And I still think that a manned lunar mission is possible by 2020-2025. The recent negative statements about manned lunar flights sounded more like "don't look for a manned flight to quickly follow-up Chang'e-1" rather than "we aren't doing manned lunar missions".
I might be lucky and live long enough to find out if I am right or wrong about this.
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