China launched it’s Shenzhou-10 rocket into orbit with three astronauts or “Taikonauts” on board to dock with their Chinese-owned module called Tiangong-1. Currently China and Russia are the only nations capable of this. The United states has not been able to send men into space since the retirement of the Space Shuttle. Honestly this is a very depressing state of affairs for anyone who is a fan of NASA. In the 1960 President Kennedy inspired the nation when he stated America would place a man on the moon within the decade. President Obama inspired the nation when he inspired the nation sating we would place a man in orbit within four years…(Sarcasm intended).
Of course the U.S. is on the fast track to have the modern equivalent of the heavy lift Saturn V rocket ready to go to the Moon at a breakneck pace, by 2030…(Sarcasm intended again). America is not at a stand still with respect to manned space, but it is certainly working at a snails pace. Yes I am officially whining. NASA has had some real successes like the Mars Curiosity Rover, but the U.S. is living on the successes of the past.
Enough about the ineptitude of U.S. leadership and commitment to the manned space program. Hats off to China for their success, at least mankind can look to them and Russia when the want to be motivated by programs that are making progress in manned space. Wu Pung, spokesman for the China Manned Space program, said at a press conference Monday they are going to spend 15 days in orbit, practicing rendezvous, docking techniques, testing technologies needed for long-term human habitation in space and conduct science experiments.
China is not overly forthcoming with details about long term their plans for the future but you have to believe that they are starting to make some major strides. They have stated that the Moon is a goal. At some point they may well wake up the world with a program that is indeed making progress and could wind up as the leader in manned space.