Congratulations to China and SpaceX!

I just wanted to highlight two big achievements in spaceflight that happened over the past few days.

First, was China's third manned space flight and first space walk. The 68-hour orbital flight aboard the Shenzhou VII spacecraft carried three taikonauts Zhai Zhigang, Li Boming, and Jing Haipeng. This was China's first space mission to carry a three-person crew. Commander Zhai Zhigang performed the approximately 20 minute spacewalk on September 27 and is shown waving the Chinese flag in the video below.

With ambitious plans to build a space station and go to the Moon, China is well on its way to making great strides in its manned spaceflight program. This has sparked some speculation of a new space race for valuable lunar resources. Who will be first to make it back to the Moon? China, the US, or a private company?

Speaking of private companies... The second big news in space this week was the successful launch to orbit of the SpaceX Falcon 1 rocket from its launch site in Kwajalein on September 28. This was the first private rocket to orbit the earth and is an important stepping stone to the upcoming Falcon 9 launch in early 2009. SpaceX is vying for the $278 million NASA COTS Award to provide a commercial cargo and crew launch service to the ISS. Click the image below to watch a video of the Falcon 1 launch.

SpaceX co-founder and CEO Elon Musk released this initial statement about SpaceX's achievement:

Wow, this is a great day for SpaceX and the culmination of an enormous amount of work by a great team. The data shows we achieved a super precise orbit insertion — middle of the bullseye — and then went on to coast and restart the second stage, which was icing on the cake.


Nischal Shetty said…
The 'contact me' 'about me' and 'cv' links are perfectly placed! Great work :)
Anonymous said…
i came across your blog via linkedin. great job Brian! here people in China are really excited about Shenzhou VII :)
BrianShiro said…
Nischal, thanks for the compliment and your post that helped me get my static pages going.

Han Li, it's good to hear from you. Thanks for your comment.

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