While China's state owned media organisations make more hopefull statements about the planned October 2008 third manned space mission for that country, which may entail a spacewalk, others in the US media are pointing to claims of alleged secret Chinese military spaceplane work; devilishly fiendish that, as the US prepares to retire its Space Shuttle
Talking of Shuttle, Aviation Week is reporting on today’s expected Shuttle Atlantis/STS-122 launch date change meeting and press conference - at about 10pm UK (GMT/Zulu) time
Meanwhile NASASpaceflight.com expects an early February launch date, which surely must mean STS-122 is replacing Endeavour's STS-123 mission carrying the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency Kibo laboratory module to the International Space Station
While the US space agency lumbers on with its 27-year old Shuttle system another part of the organisation is developing the new Moon machines, and here you can find the synopsis for NASA's Altair Lunar Lander industry-led design review solicitation, while here you can find some old lunar lander designs
This solicitation suggests that the Altair Lunar Lander project office's plans, revealed by Flight back in July 2007, are on track
This plan envisaged an Altair design by mid-February this year that would then have industry input by or during this April.
The Lander is someway off and will have its own technical challenges to overcome but for now NASA has announced it would use Gloyer-Taylor Laboratories’ Universal Combustion Device Stability (UCDS) process to assess the thrust oscillation issues it has with its Ares I crew launch vehicle. UCDS is a modeling and analysis process that provides a physical insight into complex combustion devices’ stability characteristics
Over in Russia there is apparently more success with new launchers with Khrunichev Space Center's Angara rocket's first-stage RD-191 engine having a successful test