So far, so good for China’s Chang’e 1 lunar orbiter as the sort-of-communist country prepares to switch on the spacecraft’s instruments to start scanning the Earth’s only natural satellite.
A good demonstration of China’s growing competence in space systems the country apparently is now aiming to substantially improve its spacecraft’s levels of electronics reliability - something else to give US and European satellite manufacturers nightmares
Space Daily thinks that Russia only intends to stay at its Baikonur, Kazakhstan cosmodrome for another 12 years.
This has sort of been rumoured, well bar the precise date, for some time as Russia has been trying to develop its Angara family of rockets to achieve Baikonur-like orbital capabilities but from its northern launch complex at Plesetsk instead. And of course Soyuz is to be launched from French Guiana in a joint venture with the European Space Agency so in a way dumping a launch pad that is actually in another country with whom your relations can allegedly be fraught makes sense.
On the other hand this report is sheer nonsense. Well, Russia may plan more modules for the ISS but, a, that would require a lot more power, and, b, it is still official policy among the ISS partners, at the moment to de-orbit the thing in 2016…