Rocket bonanza!


It's all go in the world of spaceflight at present.

Yesterday the Russians launched three satellites for their military global positioning system GLONASS (not be be confused with Glasnost which was far less sisnister). They used their venerable but still very cool looking Proton Launcher.

Strap-on heaven. The Proton.

Then the Chinese launched three astronauts, Jing Haipeng, Zhai Zhigang and Liu Boming in their Shenzhou VII spaceship as well. Zhai is due to do a space walk on Saturday.

We come in peace!

Although the Chinese have launched a one man capsule before this is their first three man effort and takes them into the top rank of space powers, although they are getting a lot of technical support from the Russians.

I knit rubbery suit for you!

Interestingly, they are not using the same spacesuits on the mission. Some are using Russian made suits whilst one poor astronaut (what is the Chinese term for an astronaut? Probably something which translates as "High flying peoples unity pioneer of the cosmos" or some such) is using a "homemade" suit. Obviously not happy with being given a Russian made suit he volunteered his wife to knit one at home for him in some sort of Sino Noah and Nelly scenario.

"Where is uvver broke?"

Rift off!

This time the Chinese crew have a selection of 81 different space meals rather than the 50 they had before. We were wondering how they got barbecued spare ribs and spring rolls into those little squeezy tubes spacemen eat from but the Chinese have taken it seriously so their heroic travellers have "food that tastes just like a stir fry from home". Plucking food out of the air with chopsticks could be tricky though!

Next month the Indians launch their moon probe so the Asian space race is well on the way. Why don't we feel comfortable about this?

The Indian Moon probe. Looks like it is made from old cornflake boxes and tin foil

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