Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spaceplane, Space Station Sought by Japan & China

Japan Wants Space Plane or Capsule by 2022

Date: 24 October 2012 Time: 04:15 PM ET
A diagram of a crew capsule being developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
CREDIT: Kuniaki Shiraki/JAXA
Japan hopes to be launching astronauts aboard a manned capsule or space plane by 2022, and the nation is also eyeing point-to-point suborbital transportation over the longer haul.
The capsule or mini-shuttle — which may resemble Sierra Nevada's Dream Chaser space plane — would each accommodate a crew of three and carry up to 880 pounds (400 kilograms) of cargo, officials with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said this month.
The mini-shuttle would weigh 26,400 pounds (11,975 kg) and land at one of five suitable runways worldwide. Because a launch abort from Japan’s Tanegashima Space Center would mean a Pacific Ocean landing, the space plane would also have to be able to cope with the sea.

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China Eyes New Rockets for Space Station, Moon Missions

Date: 25 October 2012 Time: 07:00 AM ET
China's Long March 5 Rocket
China is building a new rocket family that includes the Long March 5.
CREDIT: Charles Vick
China is making progress in creating a new line of launchers for advancing its space station plans, as well as bolstering its capability to land robots — and possibly humans — on the moon.
Earlier this year, the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation announced it had successfully conducted a 200-second test firing with the Long March 5 rocket's 120-ton-thrust liquid oxygen (LOX) and kerosene engine. The engine is far more powerful than the 75-ton-thrust engines of the rockets used to launch China's piloted Shenzhou spacecraft.
The China Manned Space Engineering (CMSE) Office has noted that the high-performance engine is the first kind of high-pressure staged combustion cycle engine for which China has proprietary intellectual property rights. It is non-toxic, pollution-free and highly reliable, the CMSE stated, adding that the engine makes China the second country in the world, after Russia, to grasp the core technologies for a LOX/kerosene high-pressure staged combustion cycle rocket engine.

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