[FPSPACE] Shenzhou around the Moon
molniya at dircon.co.uk
Sun Aug 14 10:02:19 EDT 2005
After Charles Vick kindly referenced me in his posting about flying a Shenzhou around the Moon, a few more details.
I think that I first mentioned this in print in my paper "The First Flights of China's Shen Zhou Spacecraft - Part 2", published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, May/June 2004 (received for publication on November 11, 2003). There I note that the CZ-5 504/HO version is more than capable of flying a complete Shenzhou around the Moon on a Zond-type trajectory, should the Chinese wish to do this. Note - a complete Shenzhou, so you would have the orbital module there throughout the flight, unlike the Zond/L-1 spacecraft.
Of course, such a mission would be extremely isolated if the Chinese were not developing a launch vehicle either like Saturn-5 or something larger than the current CZ-5 plans which would allow a manned lunar landing. For a landing you are probably thinking of either one giant vehicle or 2-3 launches of vehicles with an LEO capability of 50-75 tonnes. With the CZ-5 class launchers still in the future, it is far too soon to speculate what such a "CZ-6" class launcher may be like (but speculation is fun, isn't it?).
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