Current and future hardware
When Moscow launched Yuri Gagarin into space in 1961, Soviet officials raised a veil of secrecy, awarding medals in private to those responsible for the feat. The Soviets also lied about the launch location and even deceived the Western press by saying Gagarin had landed in his capsule when, in reality, he had ejected from his spacecraft at an altitude of almost 4 km, before parachuting back to Earth. While a high level of secrecy also shrouds the Chinese space program, the degree to which they conceal the details of their space efforts seems to be less obsessive than the Soviets, as evidenced by websites promoting their space hardware and the brochures publicizing their rockets that government agencies hand out at conferences. Thanks to this information dissemination, Western experts have learned a great deal about Chinese space technology and the nuances of each spaceflight. In addition to revealing details of their spacecraft, information released by the Chinese shows that they have worked hard to make their launch vehicles reliable and that their manned space effort is no “man-in-the-can” program, as was the case in the American Mercury Program. With their rapidly improving hardware, the Chinese expect to chart a bold course that they hope will see them beat the US to the Moon. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Pacific, the US is working hard on realizing the goals set by the Vision for Space Exploration (VSE).
KeywordsSpace Effort Government Agency Space Exploration Information Dissemination Aerospace Technology
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