Archive for the ‘Space exploration’ Category

China’s reaction when Apollo 13 had an emergency

October 9, 2013

Apollo 13” was the seventh manned mission in the American Apollo space program and the third intended to land on the Moon. The craft was launched on April 11, 1970, at 13:13 CST from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, but the lunar landing was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded two days later, crippling the Service Module (SM) upon which the Command Module (CM) depended.

On its way back before it entered the Earth’s atmosphere, the U.S. Government informed governments of other countries about the incident, asking them to help rescue American astronauts. Upon the request, the Soviet Union order the whole country to turn off any radio devices that could interfere the communications from the lunar module. At 18:07:41 UTC, April 17, 1970, it splashed down on Pacific Ocean. The crew were picked up by USS Iwo Jima 45 minutes later.

What did the Chinese government do? (more…)

Chinese found clue to astronauts’ bone loss

December 11, 2012

Chinese researchers claimed that small nucleic acid molecules microRNA-214 was found to lead to bone loss in astronauts. Their paper “miR-214 targets ATF4 to inhibit bone formation” is published in “Nature Medicine” on December 9, 2012.

A little math question for junior rocket funs

August 26, 2012

The figure above shows a rocket taking off vertically. When the rocket reaches a height of 12 kilometers, the angles of elevation from points A and B on level ground are 84.1o and 62.7o, respectively. What is the distance between points A and B?


MIT’s Aircraft Systems Engineering

May 17, 2012

Everyone knows that MIT has an open course project. One of them is “16.885J / ESD.35J Aircraft Systems Engineering“. I am interested in this one because it was given by top scientists, engineers and managers in the field of space shuttle design, development and operations. Therefore, it offers first hand experiences and information in terms of system engineering of space vehicles.

I personally listened through all the video lectures of this course. One thing I have to say is that it is not a systems engineering course in general. Rather, it is an “Aircraft Systems Engineering” as the title says. So, it is an excellent reference if you are taking a class in an aircraft systems engineering somewhere else, or you are in this field and want to gain more knowledge and second hand experiences, or you want to know the history of space shuttle. I learned a lot from the course. Unfortunately, most of the slides used in classroom are not available on the internet. Sometimes, you would have to guess on speakers. Please note that there are transcripts available and it is particularly useful.

While I was listening this course, I put together a list of lectures.


Is Penny4NASA enough?

March 30, 2012

This is a forward from NASA Watch.

“Tell the United States Congress and President Barack Obama that you want NASA’s annual budget increased to one penny on the taxpayer dollar. Tell them that making NASA 1% of the total budget is worth it for the future of our great nation!”

Petition at

But, if NASA is simply a money transfer hub, is this enough to save NASA?

CAST celebrates for the success of Shenzhou VIII ducking mission

November 18, 2011

Source: CAST

On Nov. 17, China Academy of Space Technology (CAST) had a big celebration for the success of Shenzhou VIII ducking mission. During the mission, CAST played critical roles and mission was a complete success.


China wants to go to Mars themselves by 2013

November 10, 2011

After the the failure of Russian’s Phobos-Gruntmission mission, China now wants to do it all by themselves. Associated chief editor of “Space International” (国际太空) Pang Zhihao (庞之浩) indicated that China hopes to launch its probe to Mars using its own rocket and communication system by 2013.

China opens space post office headed by Yang Liwei

November 3, 2011


While China’s Shenzhou 8 is launched and docked with Tiangong 1 hub successfully, the Chinese post bureau is eager to make some profits out of it. On Nov 3, 2011, the very same day of the space ducking event, the Chinese “space post bureau” is open. The Chinese first taikonaut Yang Liwei is assigned as the chief of the bureau.


Movie “Qian Xuesen” did not pass audit because of suspected exposure of state secrets

October 19, 2011


December 11 is the 100th birthday of Qian Xuesen (钱学森). One of the celebration activities is the release of new movie “Qian Xuesen”. But recent rumor says that it did not pass audit because of suspected exposure of state secrets.

Cost of China’s space station

October 4, 2011

On Sept 29, China launched its first Tiangong 1 Space Lab onto orbit. According to Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China’s manned space program, the total cost of its rendezvous and docking mission is about 12 billion yuan (1US$ = 6.3813 yuan). The earlier space walk from “Shenzhou 7” mission cost about 3 billion yuan. As for the future space station, Zhou said that they haven’t gone to the details for cost estimate. (more…)