Seems everyone is going to the Moon these days
Here's a BBC article on the Chinese space program. According to it, the chinese would like to make a moon landing within fifteen years. Two things popped into my mind as soon as I began to read this article. One was the fact that if China manages to do this by 2022, that will be fifty three years since the U.S. landed its moon mission. My second thought, though, was this: would we even be able to do this today? I remember reading a few years ago that the archived blueprints for the saturn V boosters had been lost. I'm not implying that we'd need the saturns again. Technology has moved quite a bit since those days. However, doing a moon shot would take something different than simply orbiting shuttles. I wonder if we might develop (assuming we get to Luna again) some sort of an ntermediary vessel to leave from the International space station, land on the moon and then return. Doing that, of course, involves a whole other set of variables. Perhaps a straight shot to the moon makes more sense. But if it ever happens that way again, it will definitely require big boosters.
Which brings up another issue. Combine the chinese building large boosters with their penchant for transferring military technology to rogue nations. Doesn't sound like a good recipe. I predict that the chinese entry into space will have a very uplifting effect on the NASA budget, as well as the military space budget.
China and the final frontier
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