Friday, September 30, 2011

GC of the day: Songbird's classic

Folks, Those are works of CG -- don't be calling "PS-ed" photo on me. They are by Songbird.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Watching sport on a big screen TV.

Is me, or they all get their jacket from Men's Warehouse?

China sends Heavenly Palace into orbit as nation ambitious for permanent station 2011-09-29 21:43:06 FeedbackPrintRSS
Backgrounder: China's voyage to space: from Shenzhou-1 to Tiangong-1

A Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module blasts off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Wang Jianmin)

BEIJING, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- China's first space lab module Tiangong-1, or Heavenly Palace-1, blasted off at 9:16 p.m. Beijing Time (1316 GMT) Thursday in a northwest desert area as the nation envisions the coming of its space station era in about ten years.

The unmanned module, carried by the Long March-2FT1 rocket, will test space docking with a spacecraft later this year, paving the way for China to operate a permanent space station around 2020 and making it the world's third country to do so.

More than ten minutes after the blastoff, Commander-in-chief of China's manned space program Chang Wanquan announced the launch's success at the control center in Beijing.

The success of the launch, however, is just a beginning, and the real challenge is space docking, said Yang Hong, chief designer of Tiangong module series.


Unlike previous Chinese space vehicles, the Tiangong-1 has a docking facility which allows it to be connected to multiple space modules in order to assemble an experimental station in low Earth orbit.

The Tiangong-1 will orbit the Earth for about one month, awaiting the arrival of the Shenzhou-8 unmanned spacecraft. Once the two vehicles successfully rendezvous, they will conduct the first space docking at a height of 340 kilometers above the earth's surface.

The Tiangong-1 flies at a speed of 7.8 kilometers per second in orbit, which leaves ground-based staff an error of less than 0.12 meter to control the two vehicles to dock in low gravity. China has never tried such test and could not simulate it on the ground.

After two docking tests with the Shenzhou-8, the Tiangong-1 will await Shenzhou-9, to be followed by Shenzhou-10, which will possibly carry a female astronaut, in the next two years, according to the plan for China's manned space program.

If the astronaut in the Shenzhou-10 mission succeeds with the manual space docking, China will become the third nation after the United States and Russia to master the technology.

President Hu Jintao watched the launch from the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center on Thursday, two days before China's National Day, witnessing the latest endeavor of China's manned space program since 1992.

Hu told the engineers, commanders and other workers at the control center to do every job in a "more aborative and meticulous" manner to ensure the success of the country's first space docking mission.

Other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, including Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang and Zhou Yongkang, were also present.

Premier Wen Jiabao went to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center to watch the launch process with He Guoqiang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee.

Chinese people were inspired by the successful launch.

"The Tiangong-1 has gone into the dark sky! We Chinese are on the way to inhabiting the vast universe," wrote Qichaoxiguanghai on Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblog service provider.

"I heard the news of the Tiangong-1's launch from the radio on a ship to Yangzhou," wrote microblogger Xingfufeiafei. "I am proud to share the pride that shakes the world. The pride of our nation is once again deep in my heart."


With a room of 15 cubic meters for two to three astronauts to conduct research and experiments in the future, China's first space lab module is hardly the size of any palace.

But its name Tiangong-1, or "Heavenly Palace-1," speaks of a dream home from Chinese folklore, long envisioned as a secret place where deities reside.

Thanks to an economic boom that has continued since the end of the 1970s, the Chinese government approved and began carrying out its three-phase manned space program in January 1992.

The first phase, to send the first astronaut to space and return safely, was fulfilled by Yang Liwei in the Shenzhou-5 mission in 2003. After another two astronauts made successful extravehicular activities in the Shenzhou-7 mission in 2008, China entered the second phase of its space program: space docking.

If the previous two steps succeed, China plans to develop and launch multiple space modules, with a goal of assembling a 60-tonne manned space station around 2020 in which Chinese astronauts will start more research projects in space.

Premier Wen said at the launch center that the breakthrough in and command of space docking technology marks a significant step forward in China's "three-phase" manned space program.

He encouraged all the participants in the program to do a good job to "win the vital battle of space docking."

The success of Thursday's launch of the Tiangong-1 also eased the pressure on China's space engineers following an unsuccessful lift-off in August when a Long March-2C rocket malfunctioned and failed to send an experimental satellite into orbit.

To acquire a new and bigger rocket capable of loading a future space station's components that will be much heavier than the Tiangong-1, research and development on a carrier rocket that burns more environmentally-friendly liquid-oxygen-kerosene fuels is in progress.

The Long March-5 and -7 carrier rockets with a payload to low Earth orbit of more than 20 tonnes will take test flight as early as 2014, said Song Zhengyu, deputy chief designer of rocket for China's manned space program.

China's progress in space technology is stunning. The Tiangong-1 will dock three spacecraft one after another, which will cost less time and money than docking experiments the U.S. and Russia did.

The space station now still functional is the International Space Station (ISS) initiated by the United States and Russia, which cooperate with other 14 nations at about 360 kilometers above the earth.

However, as the U.S. ended its space shuttle program after the Atlantis' last mission in July, the ISS is scheduled to be plunged into the ocean at the end of its life cycle around 2020, when China is expected to start its era of space station.


Zhang Shancong, deputy chief designer of the Tiangong-1, told Xinhua that the module carries special cameras which will take hyperspectral images of China's vast farmlands to detect heavy metal pollution and pesticide residue as well as plant disease.

Moreover, scientists on the ground will also conduct experiments on photonic crystal, a new material expected to revolutionize information technology, in the low-gravity environment inside the Tiangong-1 as these experiments would be extremely difficult to conduct on the earth's surface.

"China is clearly becoming a global power and its investments in areas like technology and exploration reflect this," said Peter Singer, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution.

"It is a natural result of the growth in political and economic power and is to be expected," Singer said in an interview with Xinhua conducted via email.

"What remains at question is what kind of presence China will play on the international stage, cooperative, working with international partners, or going it alone?" Singer said.

The scholar, however, can find an answer to his question from the words of Zhou Jianping, chief designer of China's manned space program.

Zhou told Xinhua that China will turn its future space station into an international platform for space research and application to share space achievements with partners.

"The Chinese nation has pursued peace since ancient times," Zhou said. "China's ultimate intention with the space program is to explore space resources and make use of them for mankind's well-being."

According to Wu Ping, a spokesperson with China's manned space program, scientists from China and Germany will jointly carry out experiments on space life science at the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft.

A U.S. astronaut on the Atlantis's final mission has said China's first experimental space station will be a welcome addition to the international brotherhood.

"China being in space I think is a great thing. The more nations that get into space, the better cooperation we'll have with each," astronaut Rex Walheim said during an interview with Reuters.

So far China's Long March rocket series has successfully sent more than 20 satellites into space for the United States, Australia, Pakistan and other countries and regions.

One Chinese scientist and five international peers have also participated in Russia's Mars-500 Program, a ground-based experiment simulating a manned expedition to Mars.

(Zhou Erjie, Ma Shukun, Shi Shouhe, Liu Jie, Zhang Chunxiao, Xu Zhuangzhi contributed to the story.)


China's first space lab module Tiangong-1 blasts off

JIUQUAN, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- China's first space lab module Tiangong-1 blasted off at 9:16 p.m. Beijing Time (1316 GMT) Thursday from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest desert area.

The unmanned module, carried by Long March-2FT1 rocket, will test space docking with a spacecraft later this year, paving the way for China to become the third country in the world to operate a permanent space station around 2020. Full story

Chinese leaders applaud successful launch of Tiangong-1

BEIJING/JIUQUAN, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- President Hu Jintao on Thursday night applauded the successful launch of China's first space lab module Tiangong-1, and shook hands with the staff of the Beijing Aerospace Flight Control Center.

Other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, including Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang and Zhou Yongkang, were also present at the control center. Full story

Special Report: China Launches Tiangong-1

Land Based HQ16 VLS SAM has entered service, confirmed by Chinese media

New surface to air missile ready for action: PLA

Global Times | September 28, 2011 03:40
By Xu Tianran Share

Official military media for the first time acknowledged Monday that China's new land-based mid-range Surface to Air Missile (SAM) system has reached operational capability. Military observers say that deployment of this missile system will boost China's air defense capability.

The new SAM system, dubbed by foreign media as the Hongqi-16, or Red Flag-16, has been delivered to an air defense unit in the Shenyang Military Region.

In a recent drill, two HQ-16 missiles fired by the unit successfully hit their aerial targets, the official website of the People's Liberation Army Daily reported Monday.

As well as being able to engage aerial targets at high altitude, the mid-range HQ-16 is also able to intercept very low-flying targets at a distance of up to about 40 kilometers, filling the gap between the HQ-7 short-range SAM and the HQ-9 long-range SAM systems, Lan Yun, editor of Modern Ships, a Beijing-based military magazine, told the Global Times.

According to Modern Navy, the official magazine of the PLA Navy, the naval variant of the missile system, which has been fitted on Type 054A frigates, can intercept sea-skimming missiles that fly less than 10 meters above the sea surface.

In modern air attacks, large numbers of land-attack cruise missiles, such as the US Tomahawk missile, are being used, Lan said. "They fly about 50 meters above the ground to avoid early radar warning and interception attempts," he added.

But the current mid-range SAM missile system HQ-12 can only engage targets that fly 300 meters above ground, according to the promotion brochure of its export version, called the KS-1A system.

"Besides the low-altitude engagement capability, the HQ-16 is also more accurate than the HQ-12. The deployment of the land-based HQ-16 can greatly enhance the mainland's capability to counter modern air attacks," Lan said.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

China buys Basler BT-67 (yes, a DC3)

China to facilitate aviation support in Antarctic research expeditions 2011-09-26 16:46:14 FeedbackPrintRSS

SHANGHAI, Sept. 26 (Xinhua) -- China will purchase its first fixed-wing aircraft for the use in Antarctic research expeditions to facilitate aviation support, said a research leader on Sunday.

Aircraft are commonly deployed in Antarctic research expeditions by other countries and their use demonstrates a country's expedition strength in the region, said Sun Bo, a scholar with the Polar Research Institute of China.

Sun made the remarks at the annual seminar on China's polar region expedition and research in Shanghai.

The Basler BT-67, a fixed-wing aircraft produced in the U.S., is likely to be the choice for China's Antarctic expeditions, Sun said. The model has already gained a strong reputation for its multi-functionality of transport, emergency rescue and scientific research.

With the aircraft, China will upgrade its capabilities in scientific research and emergency security in Antarctic expeditions.

Moreover, China is now actively mapping an aviation network, including both aircraft and supporting infrastructure in the South Pole region, he added.

China launched its first expedition to the Antarctic in 1984.

Previous blog entry

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pole Party

More evidence that Chinese activities are causing the ice caps to melt.

But to their defense, what else  are you gonna do to after reaching the northernmost point besides swim a few laps and have a BBQ?

Chinese scientists reach North Pole
ABOARD XUELONG, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- A group of Chinese scientists reached the North Pole on Friday afternoon, extending their research on the Arctic Ocean to Earth's northernmost point.

Fourteen Chinese scientists were flown in by helicopter from icebreaker the Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, which carried a Chinese exploration team and reached a point at 88.22 degrees north latitude and 177.20 degrees west longitude.

The Chinese scientists' arrival point marks the Arctic Ocean's furthest north they have ever reached.

The scientists carried out a series of research activities at the Pole, including collecting sea ice and seawater samples and ecological observation.

China's South Pole research station.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

An update on the CJ-1000A high bypass ratio turbofan engine

China's jumbo jet equipped with 'Chinese Heart' engine
(People's Daily Overseas Edition)
16:43, September 26, 2011

Edited and Translated by Yao Chun, People's Daily Online

A half-scale metal model of China's first jumbo jet engine, the CJ-1000A independently developed by the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), made its public debut at the 14th China International Aviation Exposition in the China National Convention Center from Sept. 21 to Sept. 24 and became the focus of attention at the exposition.

A head of AVIC Commercial Aircraft Engine Co., Ltd. (ACAE) announced on Sept. 21 that the large aircraft engine CJ-1000A is the first high bypass ratio turbofan engine for civilian use in China. Its core engine test is expected to be finished in 2014, and its experimental engine will meet the performance standards by 2016. This engine is scheduled to get a airworthiness certificate and realize product delivery in 2020.

Commercial aircraft engines are known as the jewel in the crown of the airline industry because of the great technology difficulty, high risk, huge investment and long development cycle. ACAE, general contractor of China's large aircraft engine project, was founded on Jan. 18, 2009 in Shanghai, which marked the start of the development of China's large aircraft engine.

Besides the open model of a C919 jumbo jet's passenger cabin, ACAE also use 3D cinema technology to present the appearance, performance index and the design concept of this domestic airliner, which has become one of the highlights of the event.

"The C919 jumbo jet is about to enter the project development stage and is expected to be reviewed at the end of this year." Said Tian Min, the chief accountant of ACAE, "The total number of C919 jumbo jet orders from home and abroad will surpass 50."

The C919 project is a good platform on which Chinese and foreign enterprises cooperated with each other to gain mutual benefit.

"We hope to provide the best products through association between strong enterprises rather than exchanging market for technology," said Wu Guanghui, the general designer of Chinese jumbo jet and deputy general manager of ACAE.

A Chinese “Heart” for Large Civilian and Military Aircraft: Strategic and commercial implications of China’s campaign to develop high-bypass turbofan jet engines

Just finished reading Gabe Collins and Andrew Erickson's latest "A Chinese 'Heart' for Large Civilian and Military Aircraft: Strategic and commercial implications of China’s campaign to develop high-bypass turbofan jet engines."  It is highly informative for those who are interested in the development of Chinese aviation engines (both Civil & Military).  A development that is worth monitoring because of its potential impact on both commercial and Geo-political realms.

Here are some key points from the full article, please visit their China SignPost™ 洞察中国 Site (here) for its entirety

Key points

–Buyers in China are expected to purchase 5,000 commercial aircraft and more than 2,300 business jets in the next 20 years, a number of aircraft that could require nearly 16,000 commercial turbofan engines to be purchased in the base scenario and 13,000 engines in the pessimistic growth scenario.

–Major large aircraft buys by China’s military could easily add another 500-1,000 engines to these totals.

–Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) Commercial Aircraft Engine (ACAE) plans to spend an average of US$300 million per year on jet engine R&D during the next five years, according to People’s Daily.

–This is much less than the current jet engine market leaders (Rolls Royce, GE, Pratt & Whitney), who spent between US$1.4 and US$2.0 billion each on R&D in 2010 (8.3% to just under 13% of their respective sales revenue).

–ACAE’s lower investment level may not enable it to catch up and develop a competitive commercial (and military) jet engine construction capability.

–Civilian aeroengine development has military implications. The same large high-bypass turbofans used in civilian airliners can, with little or no modification, power large military aircraft including tankers, transports, Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, and others. The major U.S. heavy lift aircraft (C-17 and C-5), tankers (KC-10 and KC-135), and AWACS and others (E-3A and P-8A) all either are, or can be, powered by engines that are basically identical to commercial aircraft powerplants.

–Joint ventures with jet engine market leaders like General Electric (GE) have the potential to give the Chinese aerospace industry a 100 piece puzzle with 90 of the pieces already assembled. Enough is left out so that the exporting companies can comply with the letter of the export control laws, but in reality, a rising military power is potentially being given relatively low-cost recipes for building the jet engines needed to power key military power projection platforms including tankers, AWACS, maritime patrol aircraft, transport aircraft, and potentially, subsonic bombers armed with standoff weapons systems.

–While already a significant source of potentially damaging technology transfer, the imperative to prioritize quarterly profits today over long-term profits and strategic concerns may be exacerbated as long-term military spending constraints in Europe, Japan, and now even the U.S. may drive Western aeroengine manufacturers even further into Chinese joint ventures to replace revenue.

–Building these aircraft types would be contingent on advances in China’s ability to indigenously fabricate large airframes. Nonetheless, being able to build the engines indigenously would remove a major barrier.

First simulated confrontation drill between Chinese and foreign air force officers held

Seeing the Philippines Air Force training with the PLAAF puts some perspective into Sino-ASEAN relations.

First simulated confrontation drill between Chinese and foreign air force officers held

(Source: PLA Daily) 2011-09-26

Starting from September of 2011 through January of 2012, the Air Force Command College (AFCC) of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is scheduled to organize Chinese and foreign pilots to conduct simulated tactical drill and training in an effort to improve their organizing ability in transnational joint operation.

The first simulated confrontation drill was unveiled in the International Training Department of the AFCC on September 24. During the drill, 4 pilots from the aviation troops of the PLA Air Force and the other 4 pilots respectively from Venezuela and the Philippines were divided into two teams and conducted simulated coordination on fighter formation and mid- and close-distance confrontation.

It is learned that the foreign pilots will observe and study the air-drop and airport-seizing operations of the PLA airborne troops, the three-dimensional break-in and in-depth attack operations of the armored brigade, and the live-shell drill of an armored infantry battalion's joining into operation from marching under support of air and ground fire. They will also visit the static equipment exhibitions and flight training of the aviation troops in Shanghai, Shenzhen and Xi'an.

Currently, the AFCC of the PLA becomes the first choice of advanced study abroad for the air force officers of 75 foreign countries including Pakistan, Singapore and United Arab Emirates. Some of these countries have even listed the training experience at this college as one of the prerequisites for their officers’ promotion.

Editor:Zhang Qingxia

Unrelated photo of the PLAAF Su-27 drill in Turkey.
(thanks foxmulder_ms for the photo)

Monday, September 26, 2011

071 YUZHAO Class Amphibious Transport Dock LPD Number Three Launched.

While her sister ship 999 undergoes sea trials, the third ship of this class was launched this morning.  Rumors of a fourth have yet to be confirmed.

(photo credit goes to HSH and FYJS)