Picking Up Where We Left Off

NASA may be grounded, but the Chinese are just getting warmed up.

Rocket launches Chinese space lab

A rocket carrying China’s first space laboratory, Tiangong-1, has launched from the north of the country.

The Long March vehicle lifted clear from the Jiuquan spaceport in the Gobi Desert at 21:16 local time (13:16 GMT).

The rocket’s ascent took the lab out over the Pacific, and on a path to an orbit some 350km above the Earth.

The 10.5m-long, cylindrical module will be unmanned for the time being, but the country’s astronauts, or yuhangyuans, are expected to visit it next year.

Tiangong means “heavenly palace” in Chinese.

See also:
“Heavenly Palace:” China’s dream home in space
Space flight in service of science
Tiangong-1 blasts off
China’s Space Launch Closes Gap With U.S.
China launches Heavenly Palace space station module
China launches module for space station
China launches 1st space station module
China Launches Spacecraft, Eyes Space Station
China Launches ‘Heavenly Palace-1’ Into Space; Takes Step Toward Station
China Set to Launch Its Own Space Station; Mission: Unknown
China Launches Space Lab; An Insider Look Into China Space Program
Rocket’s red glaring error: China sets space launch to America the Beautiful
Tiangong 1

Okay, so the Chinese are still quite a ways behind the U.S. space program.

/but hey, at least they have an active space program

Not So Astute

It’s a bad end to a bad week for the British military.

A beached wail from the world’s top submarine

THE British Royal Navy faces a possible multimillion-dollar repair bill for damage to the world’s most advanced submarine, with stealth technology so sophisticated it can lie undetected for weeks off an enemy coast.

The sub, which is so new that it is not yet fully operational, has sonar with a range of 3000 nautical miles and carries more firepower than a squadron of 16 Tornado bombers.

But on Friday the £1.2billion ($1.9billion) HMS Astute nuclear submarine spent the day stuck on a shingle bank near the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland in view of a curious public after it ran aground during a routine crew transfer. It was towed free by a tug that night but the incident is another blow for the Royal Navy, which suffered considerably last week with budget cuts to its aircraft carriers, warships, Harrier jump jets and the prospect of 5000 redundancies.

The navy insisted that there was no likelihood of a nuclear leak or any other environmental issue and no one was injured in the incident.

But the ship’s Commander, Andy Coles, will face questions and a possible court martial over why the ship ran aground.

See also:
Royal Navy chiefs left red-faced after brand new £1.2bn nuclear submarine is left high and dry off the coast of Scotland
Experts assess grounded submarine
Navy’s nuclear super-stealth submarine stuck off Skye for ten hours
High-tech sub runs aground in Scotland
HMS Astute – the navy’s £1.2billion nuclear vessel – runs aground
Sub shows too much to be stealthy
Navy not quite so astute after stranding
Red faces for Navy as stealth submarine left high and dry
Nuclear submarine HMS Astute is finally freed after running aground off Skye
Barrow submarine HMS Astute rescued
Grounded Nuclear Submarine Is Towed Free
Nuclear submarine freed after running aground off Isle of Skye
Grounded nuclear sub HMS Astute docked for tests
FACTBOX-Britain’s Astute class submarines
HMS Astute (S119)

Well, at least they got her back underway with no apparent damage and no loss of life.

/I’m guessing Commander Coles won’t be in command much longer