Roland - 6/3/2008 12:10 PM
And if the Chinese will launch a Spacestation,i think we will see a Salyut-like Module.
But they can launch several Modules to build up a Mir-Class Station.
But can they do a manned Moon orbiting Mission like the unmanned Zond Flights?
Zond was a cicumlunar flight. If CZ-5 is able to put 25 tonnes into LEO, it should also be able to propel up to 10.5 tonnes toward the moon using a dedicated cryogenic TLI stage (or 8.5 tonnes using the planned cryogenic "HO" stage to perform a second burn). I think that should be enough to boost a Shenzhou-like spacecraft on a cirucumlunar mission.
An Earth Rendezvous mission using two CZ-5 launches should be sufficient to perform a lunar orbiting mission with a Shenzhou-like spacecraft, assuming cryogenic TLI and hypergolic LOI/TEI stages are used.
These possibilities may be what Griffin is talking about when he says that China will get to the Moon before NASA can return.
- Ed Kyle