Medieval rockets to first satellites
China has a long history in astronomy, astronautics, and rocketry. Although ancient astronomy began in Babylon, China was not far behind and has the longest history of continuous observing of any civilization. Eclipses were observed as far back as 2165 BC and records of stars can be found carved into bones dating to 1400 BC. A supernova was observed in Antares in 1300 BC and the first star catalogs were found in 350 BC, outlining the “mansions” of the sky, like western constellations. The first meteor showers were recorded in 687 BC. Comet Halley was observed in 467 BC and sunspots in 28 BC. The first sundials were made in 104 BC, the same year as the building of the first observatory, Zijin Shan (Purple Mountain) near Nanjing. A golden age of Chinese astronomy opened from the seventh century, when the emperor Yao commissioned the first star maps and calendar (AD 650). These star charts had 1,340 stars, 12 constellations, over-the-pole views, and used the Mercator system of projection . China has a continuous history of weather records dating 3,000 years.
KeywordsBurning Furnace Europe Titan Coherence
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- 1.Bonnet-Bidaud, J.-M. Old Chinese Star Charts. Presentation in Alliance Française, Dublin, 6 September 2011; Needham, J. Science and Civilization in China, 27 vols. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1954).Google Scholar
- 2.Chien, Lai-Chen et al. Rocket Weapons in Ancient China. International Academy of Astronautics, 34th History Symposium, Rio de Janiero, 2001; Aerodynamic Aspects of an Ancient Chinese Multi-Stage Rocket — the Fire Dragon. International Academy of Astronautics, 35th History Symposium, Toulouse, 2001.Google Scholar
- 3.Handberg, R.; Li, Zhen. Chinese Space Policy: A Study in Domestic and International Politics. Routledge, Abingdon (2007).Google Scholar
- 4.Hu, Wen-Rui. Space Science in China: Progress and Prospects. In: Hu, W.-R. (ed.), Space Science in China. Gordon & Breach, Amsteldijk (1997).Google Scholar
- 5.Grahn, S. The Satellites Launched by FB-1. Available online at www.svengrahn.pp.se, 31 January 2000.