28 thoughts on “Zhurong”

  1. You know, letting the Chinese have all our Mars lander and rover designs really does save tax dollars by having them fly the JPL missions on their own dime.

  2. What I think is ridiculous is the secrecy. They won’t even say where they’re going. And if it weren’t for those satellite photos we wouldn’t even know if the mission had any success at all. Public spending should always have a great deal of transparency to it.

    Moving on, stuff like this indicates to me that China has little commitment to space development. We’ll need to look elsewhere for that.

    1. I think it’s more like the glacial pace of their progress that speaks to little commitment to development. As for secrecy, well, Commies gonna Commie.

      1. Slow as compared to what?

        They have a rover on the Moon and one on Mars and are working on a new space station. They launch humans, satellites, and weapons into space. They are progressing along their chosen path and while they have had some set backs, are they slow?

        Not many countries are doing what they are.

        1. They’re slow compared to the US, even at our current slow pace. This is their first manned mission in, what, 5 years? Now that we’ve got a replacement for Shuttle–sort of–SpaceX has put up two crewed missions in the last year or so.

          1. At this moment, what do they need manned missions for? They have the capability. As long as they can launch people when they need to to do the things they have planned out, then its a success for them.

            We launch more people but our objectives are different than them, so the rate of crewed flights isn’t necessarily a good metric. Once they station is complete, we can expect their flight rate to increase too but it doesn’t really matter because those launches support their plans and not ours.

            Overall, I think our way of doing things will be better but that doesn’t mean China wont be a capable competitor.

    2. Rick C has it right, commies gonna commie.

      They don’t think it is our business what they are doing in space or anywhere else and the realm of acceptable actions is far different than what we consider acceptable.

  3. I would not call their progress glacial. Their space program only really got going in the late 1990s. Only recently did they design and build a heavy launcher plus an equatorial launch site.

    The Chinese space program is basically run by their military so it is little surprising they are so secretive.

    1. Without SpaceX, China would appear much more formidable but far too many people are complacent and look down on their capabilities. They are playing their own game by their own rules. But ignoring that, they are doing somethings that we wouldn’t be able to without SpaceX.

      How different would things be if government and traditional government contractors killed off SpaceX?

      Our space industry has been so mismanaged that we are were we are due to inertia and either providence or luck.

      1. Except the Chinese also have projects for reusable rockets. The state is building at least two rockets to compete with the Falcon 9 and Heavy (921 rocket and Long March 8). There is also a private effort to do the same.

        1. In a Communist system, there is no such thing as a “private” effort. I’m sure they’re calling it private, but the government is their ultimate master.

          On another note, I’m not getting all the China love. They’re going the Apollo route, only at a slower pace. Yes, they have the advantage of not having to answer to anyone outside the party. On the other hand, there isn’t any pressure to succeed. In the end, their program could just end up being an exercise in inner-party empire building.

        2. Yeah, the Chinese are copying SpaceX. Not a surprise. Had SpaceX not done what they did, China wouldn’t be trying it now. But like I said, no one should look down on what they can do and be complacent.

          It doesn’t matter if China steals tech and IP. What matters is how they use it and how the creators use it.

      2. We would not be where we are today without at least one sizable piece of bad luck, namely the destruction of Shuttle Columbia during re-entry in 2003. Absent that, NASA and MIC would have done their usual job of private sector launch startup infanticide on SpaceX as they had done so often to others before. But Columbia made Shuttle a dead spaceship walking.

        The joint NASA-MIC response was Constellation, with Orion to do double duty as a Moonship and an ISS taxi. But there was no ISS cargo solution within Constellation so COTS was ginned up and became CRS. Then, when Ares 1-Orion proved untenable as a crew taxi solution, Commercial Crew followed.

        The rest, as they say, is history.

    2. Their space program only really got going in the late 1990s.

      How many years since? I’ll note that SpaceX went from a twinkle in the eye of Musk to the largest private launcher inside of 20 years. We see now what a serious attempt looks like.

      1. The US went from suborbital flights to Moon landings in 8 years. The Chinese are just wading into pool of manned space flight. That doesn’t mean they won’t be on the Moon in 5 years, but their manned program looks like it’s at the 1970’s Skylab/Salyut stage right now.

        1. When was the last time we landed a person on the Moon? The past doesn’t matter. What you are doing right now matters.

          It was only just recently that we could launch Americans into space on American launchers while China was already doing this. Soon they will have their own version of the ISS and possibly land humans on the Moon.

          We might get to the Moon first and our private space stations might be operational soon too but in the end, being first doesn’t matter. What matters is what you do with the capabilities you have. I think that puts us in a good spot but China might go a different rout and put WuHan in space.

          1. “When was the last time we landed a person on the Moon?”

            We could do it again if the people with the desire had the money, and I don’t mean Apollo-style. Although Musk’s lack of interest in going there, as opposed to Mars, will make it take longer, probably.

          2. I don’t think Musk ever lacked interest in going to the Moon. And even if that were once true, it certainly is no longer. If he was completely tunnel-visioned on Mars, he would never have had SpaceX submit an HLS proposal.

          3. He submitted an HLS proposal less because he’s interested in the moon and more because he’s interested in getting NASA money to help with Starship development.

          4. Interested in NASA money but he also spent SpaceX money prototyping lunar Starship didn’t he? SpaceX spends money building things as a form of lobbying instead of just on lawyers and lobbyists.

  4. The Chinese have plans for a super heavy launcher called Long March 9. It has actually been funded and they are in advanced stage with the engines for it. I would not be surprised if it flew around the same time Starship flew.

    1. You think chinese porkulus going to be ready by this summer? Because Starship is going orbital this summer.

  5. “In a Communist system, there is no such thing as a “private” effort. I’m sure they’re calling it private, but the government is their ultimate master.”
    As opposed to the system in the US and the rest of the West where any significant scale “private” effort is subject to a barrage of laws, regulations etc any of which can be changed at the whim of a government or its agencies.

    1. Granted, we have regulations to follow here. When you are talking about devices that could qualify as weapons of mass destruction, that is to be expected. On the other hand, companies like SpaceX are doing pretty much what they want within those regulatory guidelines. If Musk decided tomorrow that he’d rather invest in tulip futures instead of space, no one is going to stop him. I doubt the folks working on the Chinese space program have that kind of freedom of action.

  6. It seems, Cuba, Venezuela, and China are in the same boat and that boat is not making much progress.

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