Tuesday, April 2, 2013

China Heavy-Lift Rocket Delayed; Could Delay Space Station

China’s Long March 5 Will Not Launch Until 2015

By Bradley Perrett
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

March 25, 2013
Credit: Long March 3C: CMSEO

Bradley Perrett Beijing

Somewhere in China, technicians are struggling with their machine tools, trying to make huge but perfectly shaped metal structures—perfectly round, and with complex internal shapes to withstand the loads of an 800-ton rocket accelerating toward orbital velocity. The technicians have routinely succeeded in making such structures before, but none so big. As these people are all too aware, the bigger they are, the harder they are to get right.

Upon the efforts of these technicians rests much of the future of China's space efforts. Modules of a planned space station will need the rocket, Long March 5, that will be built with these structures. So will a range of oversize spacecraft, presumably including powerful reconnaissance satellites, for which China is building a special plant. Even China's next-generation commercial communications satellite bus is under development for the world market, based on the assumption that Long March 5 will be available. This Long March is the long pole in the Chinese space tent.

More - Link >>> http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_03_25_2013_p30-561101.xml

Australia-Based U.S. Radar To Watch China Launches

By Bradley Perrett
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

March 25, 2013
Credit: Commonwealth of Australia

Bradley Perrett Canberra and Beijing
Launched southward, Chinese polar-orbiting reconnaissance satellites cross Antarctica and then head up the Atlantic and past South America. Only then, perhaps 40 min. after they depart their Taiyuan launch base, can U.S. radars on the islands Antigua and Ascension get a look at them.

In a world of ever-faster military information distribution and decision-making, 40 min. is a long time. That is surely one strong reason why the Antigua radar is moving to Western Australia, from where it can begin tracking Chinese polar satellites much sooner. It so happens that the western edge of the Australian continent, the radar's intended home from 2014, is at 114 deg. E. Long., nearly dead south of Taiyuan, which is at 112 deg. E.

A second U.S. sensor could be heading to Western Australia: an advanced satellite-watching telescope that the U.S. Air Force says is an order of magnitude more effective than older models, such as one on Diego Garcia, far out in the Indian Ocean. Analysts expect that its key tasks will include monitoring geostationary satellites over the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean.

More - Link >>> http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_03_25_2013_p33-561203.xml

Source: Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazime.


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