A Successful Launch Of The Chinese Shenzhou-9 Rocket
The Chinese successfully launched their Shenzhou-9 rocket into space yesterday, carrying a crew of three. It included China's first female taikonaut, 劉洋 (Liu Yang)[wiki]. I mentioned on Google+ that I was following the launch on a couple of web streams [#].
In all of the NASA official and personal blogs that I follow, there was not one mention of the launch or the significance of the first Chinese woman to fly into space. There wasn't even one loosely veiled "God Speed" indirectly sent to the crew before hand. This is especially disheartening considering the rocket launched on June 16th, the same day the first woman, Валенти́н Терешко́ва (Valentina Tereshkova), flew into space 39 years ago [wiki]. Терешко́ва was of course, not an American. Perhaps it was naive of me to forget that NASA is still a covert tangent of the American military, and as such, would deliberately ignore the achievements of "enemy" states, the lack of commentary within the social media of personnel, and even non-American astronauts, still surprised me however.
In comparison, the recent "SpaceX" launch was rammed down our throats from all angles- all hail, "the first commericial rocket in space". The notion that it was "the first" is of course is bullshit, but the triumphing the commercial aspect of it, completely galls me. For all the bad that's said of the Chinese government, the launch still signifies a progressive future for a state funded non-private space program in the world. That's not to imply that I'm totally against private ventures into space, however.
In the Irish media, I flicked around TV stations, looking for mention of the launch. I turned my attention to TV3 as they had been so keen on covering the launch of the North Korean Unha-3 rocket [Riemann's Cut]. They actually gave the North Korean launch failure full priority and made it the headline news on their evening news program, so I was expecting great things from them. Surprise, surprise... not one word of it on their evening news segment. If it had blown up though...
In other news: Coincidently or deliberately, the U.S.' Airforce landed their X-37B unmanned Orbital Test Vehicle yesterday [msnbc], somewhat under the cover of the Chinese launch. The vehicle had been in orbit for over a year but it's mission is being kept confidential. The Chinese believe it to be device used for spying, or a weapon. To be fair, when the US' announced the Space Shuttle program, the Soviet Union also assumed it purpose to be a weapon. They couldn't understand why America would produce such an expensive and dangerous way to launch things into space, unless they planned to leave them up there. We shall have to wait and see what comes to pass.
Posted at 22:51