Chinese to launch military space station

Tom James @ 10-03-2009

china_stationThe Chinese government has announced its intention to launch two space stations over the next two years, one for civil use and one for military activities:

The design, revealed to the Chinese during a nationally televised Chinese New Year broadcast, includes a large module with docking system making up the forward half of the vehicle and a service module section with solar arrays and propellant tanks making up the aft.

The concept is similar to manned concepts for Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle.

While used as a target to build Chinese docking and habitation experience, the vehicle’s military mission has some apparent parallels with the U.S. Air Force Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) program cancelled in 1969 before it flew any manned missions. MOL’s objectives were primarily reconnaissance and technology development.

This is all due to happen in the same year that NASA is phasing out the space shuttle: how will Chinese progress in space affect US space policy?

[from SPACE.com via Slashdot][image from SPACE.com]

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3 Responses to “Chinese to launch military space station”

  1. Kian says:

    Isn’t orbital military facilities against the same orbital treaty that prevents the use of nuclear weapons and power stations in orbit.

  2. Kian says:

    Ok I apologise for the number of times I used the term orbit in the previous post.

    Details of the treaty may be found.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outer_Space_Treaty
    or for a full text link to the actual document
    http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/SpaceLaw/outerspt.html

    To which China has signed. I will double check my information to see its response to military installations.

  3. jon says:

    ah yes, treaties… those things you encourage less powerful countries to sign and build into their values systems, while you keep all the good stuff for yourself.