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More than a century after they were written, Victor Hugo's words apply to today's dreams of advanced human space travel. What once was only a dream that envisioned a new spaceship that would fly astronauts back to the moon and beyond is now taking small steps toward reality as NASA's Constellation Program takes shape.
Small-scale models of the new Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) capsule and its tall rocket -- the Crew Launch Vehicle (CLV) -- are being tested in NASA wind tunnels across the nation at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.
The tests are supporting the initial development of NASA's new spaceship, its hardware and software. Wind tunnels use giant fans or high-pressure airflow to create wind to flow over vehicles, engines, rockets or scale models, to simulate flight performance. Researchers use such wind tunnel 'flights' to assess new geometric configurations before incorporating them into space vehicle designs.
NASA's Ares rockets, named for the Greek god associated with Mars, will return humans to the moon and later take them to Mars and other destinations.
Future astronauts will ride to orbit on Ares I, which uses a single five-segment solid rocket booster, a derivative of the space shuttle's solid rocket booster, for the first stage. A liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen J-2X engine derived from the J-2 engine used on Apollo's second stage will power the crew exploration vehicle's second stage. The Ares I can lift more than 55,000 pounds to low Earth orbit.
Planning and early design are under way for hardware, propulsion systems and associated technologies for NASA's Ares V cargo launch vehicle -- the "heavy lifter" of America’s next-generation space fleet. Ares V will serve as NASA's primary vessel for safe, reliable delivery of large-scale hardware to space -- from the lunar landing craft and materials for establishing a moon base, to food, fresh water and other staples needed to extend a human presence beyond Earth orbit.
Project Constellation launch vehicles Ares and Ares V:
The Orion CEV(Crew Exploration Vehicle):
America will send a new generation of explorers to the moon aboard NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle. Making its first flights early in the next decade, Orion is part of the Constellation Program to send human explorers back to the moon, and then onward to Mars and other destinations in the solar system. A component of the Vision for Space Exploration, Orion’s development is taking place in parallel with missions to complete the International Space Station using the space shuttle before the shuttle is retired in 2010.
Orion will be capable of carrying crew and cargo to the space station. It will be able to rendezvous with a lunar landing module and an Earth departure stage in low-Earth orbit to carry crews to the moon and, one day, to Mars-bound vehicles assembled in low-Earth orbit. Orion will be the Earth entry vehicle for lunar and Mars returns. Orion’s design will borrow its shape from the capsules of the past, but takes advantage of 21st century technology in computers, electronics, life support, propulsion and heat protection systems.
Lockheed Martin Corp was awarded the contract to build Orion on Aug. 31, 2006.
Chinese Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) (Chinese: ; pinyin: Zhōngguó Tànyuè) is a program of robotic explorations and human missions to the Moon undertaken by China National Space Administration (CNSA), People's Republic of China's space agency. It uses Chang'e lunar orbiters, rovers and soil return spacecraft and adapted Long March 3A launch vehicle. The launch and the flight are monitored constantly by a TT&C System (Deep Space Tracking Network, with radio antennas of 50 m in Beijing, 40 m in Kunming, Shanghai and Ürümqi, forming a 3000 km VLBI antenna.) and the Ground Application System, responsible for downlink data reception.
The first spacecraft of the program, Chang'e 1, an un-manned lunar orbiter was successfully launched at Xichang Satellite Launch Center on October 24, 2007 (delayed from 17–19 April 2007) with further launches planned for 2008 or 2009 according to academician and chief designer Long Lehao.
Ouyang Ziyuan, one of the most prominent Chinese experts in geological research on underground nuclear testing and extraterrestrial materials, was the first to advocate not only the exploitation of the known huge lunar reserves of metals such as iron, but also the mining of lunar helium-3 as an ideal fuel for nuclear fusion power plants. He is now in charge of the Chang'e program. He is known to be one of the strongest supporters of the Chinese human lunar exploration program.
Orbiting (Chang’e 1 in 2007)
Main article: Chang'e 1
Chang'e 1 is a lunar orbiting spacecraft. According to the schedule, detailed program design of the first milestone was completed by September 2004. Research and development of a prototype probe and relevant testing of the probe was finished before the end of 2005. Design, manufacture, general assembly, test and ground experiments of the lunar orbiter was finished before December 2006. On October 24, 2007 the Chang'e 1 was launched.
(Already launched Chinese Lunar satellite)
Landing (Chang’e 2 in 2009)
A spacecraft (Chang’e 2) will be launched to deploy a lunar lander for surface exploration in a limited area on the moon.
It is said that the second phase of the program would include the launch of at least two landers in 2008 or 2009, that will carry small remote-controlled Moon rovers to conduct an inspection of the moon's surface and probe the moon's resources. It would also provide data to determine the selection of a moon base.
On December 14, 2005, many aspects of the above information were confirmed, when it was reported "an effort to launch lunar orbiting satellites will be supplanted in 2007 by a program aimed at accomplishing an unmanned lunar landing. A program to return unmanned space vehicles from the moon will begin in 2012 and last for five years, until the manned program gets underway" in 2017.
A six-wheeled lunar vehicle due to be launched in 2013 has been under development since 2002 at the Shanghai Aerospace System Engineering Institute where a specialized testing laboratory has been outfitted to replicate the lunar surface.  The 1.5-meter high, 200-kilogram rover is designed to transmit video in real time, dig and analyze soil samples. In photographs, the rover appeared similar to NASA's unmanned Spirit and Opportunity Mars rovers. Unlike the rechargeable lithium ion batteries used by those rovers, the Chinese model will eventually run on a nuclear power source to ensure a constant energy supply. With an average speed of 100 meters/hour, it can negotiate inclines and has automatic sensors to prevent it from crashing into other objects.
Rival rovers are being developed by similar institutes in Beijing and elsewhere.
Chinese Long March Rocket to be used for manned Lunar missions:
Returning (Chang’e 3 in 2017)
On the basis of the lander mission, a lunar sample return mission (Chang’e 3) will be implemented. On the same date the manned program is expected to start.....
Returning (Chang’e 3 in 2017)
On the basis of the lander mission, a lunar sample return mission (Chang’e 3) will be implemented. On the same date the manned program is expected to start.
Currently, the second and third phases of the program are being planned. Both will require the availability of the heavy-lift Long March 5 (CZ-5) booster. Huang Chunping, the former head of rocket science at China's manned space program, told Xinhua news agency in March 2007 that the Long March 5 (CZ-5) rocket would be ready for launch 'in seven or eight years', which implied that CZ-5 would not be used in the second phase of the Chang'e program. It has been reported that the second phase might use a CZ-3B rocket instead. Nonetheless, the decision to develop a totally new moon rocket able to launch a 500 tons payload has been discussed in a 2006 conference by academician Zhang Guitian (张贵田), a liquid propellant rocket engine specialist, who developed the CZ-2 and CZ-4A rockets engines.
It is highly expected that the fourth human space flight phase will start with a Circumlunar Shenzhou flight, since the Shenzhou spacecraft has been designed with a lunar return capable aerodynamics, as demonstrated by the similar Soyuz spacecraft during the L1 manned lunar program of the 1960s.
The Hainan Spaceport, fourth and southernmost space center, will be upgraded to suit the new CZ-5 Heavy ELV and human lunar missions.
On occasion of the 2008 May Day celebration, a Lunar Roving Vehicle was shown on a Chinese TV channel.
Anatoly Perminov, head of the Russian Federal Space Agency revealed in September 2006 in RIA Novosti that the two countries were indeed working on the Moon as partners, and that the Russian-Chinese space sub-commission's priority was to conclude a joint Moon exploration agreement by the end of that year.
Chinese Shenzhou space station:
The Shenzhou spacecraft and its support systems are obviously designed for more than that, and to carry out specific complex missions. It’s clear that future missions will carry three crewmen, fly for extended periods, support testing of spacewalks and orbital dockings, carry specialized science and technological equipment, and move toward deployment of a Chinese space station similar to Russia’s venerable Mir (1986-2001).
We suspect this, because Chinese officials in more serious moments and properly translated interviews have said as much. But we can also believe it, because they have built the Shenzhou hardware with features that make sense only when used for exactly those missions.
Originally posted by declassified
the thing is if the u.s. and china work together along with other countries in the space race, we would have a better shot at getting more things done. It shouldn't be about owning the moon or getting a base there first.
nice post. a lot of good info.
Originally posted by jkrog08.
“The Bush administration has finally agreed to let the military build a forward base on the moon, which will put them in a better position to keep track of the comings and goings of visitors from space and to shoot at them if they so decide,” end quote.
WOW,mainstream media(now FOX.CNN,and MSNBC) have been covering UFO's a lot lately!Back on topic I think this "Alien Defense Base"may just be the cover for a mining base or military base for space superiority(has that word ever been used before?).
Originally posted by jetxnet
Keep in mind that a Space race leads to Cold war between two Super Powers. The Space race is just flexing "technological muscle" if you will.
“Perhaps China is not funding HFGW resarch, or at least the type of HFGW research being promoted by Baker, Davis, and Puthoff. By the way, not all HGFW research is bad science. You should review the work by Ray Chow at the University of California at Merced.”