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Human Spaceflight Progress Around the World: Part 1

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posted on Jul, 5 2018 @ 09:53 AM
This post is something for fun. I am not sure I'll be back in the space exploration forum again, but I thought it might be interesting as a mental exercise to summarize what is going around the world right now for the future of human spaceflight. The US, Russia and China are at the forefront, but we are hardly alone in our attempts to get people into space, even deep space. I will start here with some of the other countries and then work towards the US. We're kinda the big kids, but...


India wants to have an independent human spaceflight capability. While they appreciate working with the US and Russia, they view human spaceflight as a sign of being a great power. I think most of us here would agree with that and they are working to that end. Unfortunately, except in a few situations progress with a lot of projects for India is not terribly quick. Limited budgets and cultural issues (and I don't mean Indian culture as a whole, but rather their contracting/procurement culture) has been causing their program to go rather slowly.

In December 2014, India launched a prototype space capsule, not unlike what the rest of the world is testing on the debut flight of the GSLV Mk III. This capsule successfully made a splash down in the Indian ocean.

On July 5th, 2018, they will be conducting a pad abort test. This is the escape system for the capsule should a problem be detected on the rocket. it's meant to pull the entire capsule away from the launch vehicle as quickly as possible.

India is targeting a 2024 date for its first human spaceflight.


As of today, Russia are China are the only nations with an independent manned spaceflight capability. The United States retired its Space Shuttles in 2011 (oh gawd, *7* years ago?!). Since then, the US has been relying on rides on Russian rocket launches to get to the International Space Station. The Russians have largely been using technology and equipment designed 30 years ago for their launch and human spaceflight capabilities, the Progress Supply Vehicle and the Soyuz space capsule are remnants of another time. They are, however, very reliable. The Russians have supplied some modules to the International Space Station. They haven't delivered the last two (Nauka and Uzlovoy) as yet and may not do so before that space station is retired.

However, the Russians are not sitting on their rumps. They have their own plans going forward. However, whatever their plans may be, some grain of salt should be taken for whatever announcement they may make. The Russians very loudly and proudly announced the Kliper only for it to never materialize. They also announced plans that would have them beat the US back to the Moon. Even so, they have been working on their next steps.

The next module Russia plans is the Federatisiya capsule. The capsule was selected in 2009 and the Russians put it to the public to name the capsule. The name being selected is what it bares now. The Russians have progressed to the point of now doing wind tunnel tests. Two different versions are planned. One for delivering cargo, much like the Progress does, and one for ferrying people, like the Soyuz.

The Russians have also announced and worked on building their own separate space station separate from the ISS or any future American space station. They will do so, supposedly, by spinning off their chunk of the ISS and then growing the station from there. Given there are two modules that have yet to make it into orbit, this seems plausible.

The Russians have stated they are joining the new space station the United States is building around the Moon, the one time Deep Space Gateway, now named Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. What was really agreed upon is that NASA and RosCosmos would study how the Russians could participate. It should be noted the reason the US built the ISS with Russia in the first place was for a foreign policy reason: the US wanted to provide jobs for all the aerospace engineers who probably would have ended up looking for work in other countries, such as the Middle East or China, after the Cold War ended. That motivation no longer exists. It remains to be seen if the US will continue to collaborate with the Russians in space.


China has been making steady progress on their human spaceflight program. They have had six manned spaceflights to date starting in 2003 through the present. With the next launch currently planned for 2020. The Chinese in 2017 successfully launched their own unmanned cargo resupply ship, the Tianzhou, that is derived from the manned capsule, much like the Progress is derived from the Soyuz.

The Chinese have launched two separate, short term space stations termed 'space laboratories' by the Chinese: Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2. The Chinese originally planned to build a third Tiangong, but have since cancelled that mission in favor of building their first modular space station.

The Chinese will start the construction of their first modular space station with the launch of the Tianhe-1 module as early as next year, but it could be delayed as late as 2022. However, given the Chinese are planning on a 2020 launch for their next human spaceflight to rendezvous with the Tianhe-1, it would be safe to bet the launch of the module would be sooner rather than later. China has made the offer for any nation to send experiments to their upcoming space station via the UN.

China has unveiled their plans for a crewed lunar mission using their Long March 8 heavy lift rocket.

NASA has been barred by statute from cooperating with the Chinese. This stems, first, from the Hughes satellite incident where a Hughes satellite on a failed Chinese rocket was studied by the Chinese in depth back in the late 90s and from some claims Chinese nationals were being given improper access to NASA research. Therefore, Congress passed a law declaring cooperation on the aerospace front on any level with the Chinese to be verboten.

The United States

To be continued in the next post. ATS seems to have a post length limit. I'll get to that later today.
edit on 5-7-2018 by anzha because: info came available as I posted. dangit.

posted on Jul, 5 2018 @ 11:41 AM
I hope part two covers human space flight will eventually progress how ships, and airplanes did( decades of toys for the rich)

Finally getting to the little people where granny, and nuns will get groped by the STSA.(SPACE TSA).

The Future looks bright people.

posted on Jul, 5 2018 @ 12:35 PM
As ATS won't let me update the old post because of its length:

India successfully tested the pad abort.

posted on Jul, 6 2018 @ 12:33 PM
a reply to: anzha

China is claiming progress on a number of reentry and landing technologies for human spaceflight and Mars missions, underlining apparently significant plans for deep space exploration.

The Beijing Institute of Space Mechanics and Electronics (BISME) announced in May that it had performed an airdrop test of a parachute for two new-generation crewed spacecraft, which will be larger successors to the current Shenzhou capsules. The test was reported to have verified the strength and function of the parachute.

posted on Jul, 7 2018 @ 10:49 PM

Video for the Indian crew escape test for their space capsule.

The parachutes may have released a bit early, but that's only a maybe. Otherwise, looks fantastic.

posted on Jul, 9 2018 @ 11:52 AM
Russia's space program may be (probably is) in serious trouble:

posted on Jul, 10 2018 @ 11:01 AM
a reply to: anzha

Energomash is definitely going to be in trouble:

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