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China Launches Core Module of its Space Station

April 29, 2021 (EIRNS)–With the successful launch today of the Tianhe core module of its space station, China begins to carry out the third phase of its manned space program. That series of missions was a 30-year program, culminating in the operation of an Earth-orbiting space station in 2020.

The first phase had the goal of demonstrating that manned space flight was safe. That was accomplished in 2003.The second phase, which lasted from then until now, demonstrated many of the technologies needed for long-duration spaceflight, such as extravehicular activity and refueling.

The space station will be under construction, requiring eleven launches of spacecraft. These include Shenzhou launches with crews and cargo deliveries. Mid- to late-May the Tianzhou-2 cargo spacecraft is scheduled to dock with Tianhe, after which three astronauts in the Shenzhou-12 mission will arrive at the station in June. As a first, the space station will carry out nine experiments from 17 countries. And China has worked very closely with the United Nations to provide experiments which are for developing countries.


NASA’s Mars Helicopter Sets New Records!

NASA’s Mars Ingenuity Helicopter Sets New Records!

April 25 (EIRNS)—NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter had a third outstanding test flight on Mars—it lifted off at about 1:30 am EDT (12:33 pm Mars Local Time), rising to an altitude of about 16 feet (5 meters), which was the same as its second flight—but then, it {really} took off! Moving at a top speed of 4.5 mph (2 meters/second) it zipped downrange 164 feet (about 50 meters)—nearly half the length of a football field. Its flight lasted about 80 seconds.

As data from Mars started streaming in at around 10:15 am EDT, the mission team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California was ecstatic, anticipating that the data would not only facilitate additional Ingenuity flights, but possibly inform new designs for rotorcraft on Mars in the future.

To say this involves fine tuning and precise execution of complicated commands is an understatement.

The helicopter’s black-and-white navigation camera tracks surface features below, and the images are processed onboard; its flight computer autonomously flies the craft based on instructions sent up hours before data is received back on Earth—radio instructions to Mars can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, depending on the relative position of the two planets. As Ingenuity flies greater distances, more images are taken, and if it goes too fast, the flight algorithm can’t track surface features. Additionally, the camera needs to track images clearly; dust can obscure the images and interfere with its performance, and the software must perform all of this consistently and flawlessly.

The Mastcam-Z imager aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, which serves as a communications base station, captured a video of Ingenuity’s flight, and in the days ahead, segments of that video will be sent back to Earth.

NASA reported, “Today’s flight was what we planned for, and yet it was nothing short of amazing,” said Dave Lavery, the project’s program executive for Ingenuity Mars Helicopter at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “With this flight, we are demonstrating critical capabilities that will enable the addition of an aerial dimension to future Mars missions.”

With this third successful flight under their belts, the mission team is looking forward to planning Ingenuity’s fourth flight in a few days’ time.


China’s Space Station Core Module Is on the Launch Pad

April 23 (EIRNS)–The core module of China’s space station, Tianhe, has been mated to its Long March 5b rocket, and the entire stack has been moved to the launch pad at the Wenchang launch base. No date has been announced for the launch, but it will be ready to launch as soon as the rocket and module are checked out on the ground.

Soon after the module is comfortably in low Earth orbit, an unmanned cargo ship will deliver supplies needed by the first crew of three, who will arrive soon after the cargo ship. The core module contains what the crew needs to operate the station, including crew quarters. Over the next year, two Chinese laboratory modules housing scientific experiments will be added to the station.

China has also designed the station to allow other countries to attach their laboratories.


UAE: 2022 Planned Moon Landing

UAE Takes Another Cosmic Step: 2022 Planned Moon Landing

April 18 (EIRNS)–On April 14, mission team members announced that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Japanese space company {ispace} will collaborate to land the UAE’s robotic Rashid moon-rover on the surface of the Moon in 2022, via the HAKUTO-R lander.

This will be the first Moon landing for the Arab world and for Japan. Only three nations so far have landed on the Moon – the former Soviet Union, the United States, and China.

Like the naming of the Hope Orbiter, the name of this 22-lb. moon-rover is important: the name Rashid in Arabic means (loosely translated, “rightly guided”), and Rāshid is one of the 99 names of God in the Qur’an. It will land near the equator on the near side of the Moon, but the exact landing site has not yet been announced.

According to space.com, “The little four-wheeled rover will study its surroundings for at least one lunar day, or about 14 Earth days, using a high-resolution camera, a thermal imager, a microscopic imager and a Langmuir probe. This latter instrument could help scientists better understand the electrically charged environment at the lunar surface, which is apparently caused by the solar wind, the stream of charged particles flowing constantly from the sun.”

“The Emirates Lunar Mission represents a milestone in the UAE’s space sector, as the mission will contribute towards providing valuable data and information relating to the moon that will serve the global scientific community as well as test capabilities that would be crucial for manned missions to Mars,” Adnan AlRais, senior director of the [Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre] MBRSC’s Remote Sensing Department.

“We are honored that MBRSC has entrusted ispace’s lunar payload transportation service to play a key role in carrying out this historic moment for the UAE,” ispace founder and CEO Takeshi Hakamada said in a statement.

ispace is planning to launch its second lunar mission, which will also include a rover deployment, in 2023. Both of those flights are expected to lift off aboard SpaceX Falcon 9 rockets.


NASA Nominee: US, China Should Work Together in Space

U.S. Should Work With China in Space, Says Nominee for Number Two NASA Spot

Apr. 18 (EIRNS)–The President intends to nominate former astronaut Pamela Melroy to the second spot in the space agency, Deputy Administrator, the White House announced on April 16. Melroy, who was on Biden’s transition team for NASA, was the second woman to command a Space Shuttle mission. Since leaving NASA, Melroy has held various leadership positions, in industry and government, in DARPA and the FAA.

Before the election, Melroy told Politico that regardless of all the differences we have with China, “trying to exclude them I think is a failing strategy,” “It’s very important that we engage.


Putin Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Gagarin First Human Space Flight

Putin Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Gagarin First Human Space Flight

April 13, 2021 (EIRNS)—On April 12, the 60th anniversary of the first human space flight of Yuri Gagarin and Cosmonauts Day, Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the city of Engels and held discussions on the development of the Russian space industry. Putin was accompanied by State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, who is a Duma lawmaker, and Saratov Region Governor Valery Radayev.

 He visited Space Conquerors Park and laid flowers on the monument to Gagarin built at the site where the cosmonaut had landed. He also held a videoconference reviewing plans for the development of the space industry. According to TASS, Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov and head of Roscosmos space agency Dmitry Rogozin delivered reports.

 “In the new, 21st century, Russia must uphold its status of a leading nuclear and space power because the space sector is directly linked with defense,” Putin said at the meeting.

 “We will always be proud that our country paved the way to the universe and that our compatriot was a pioneer on this great path,” he stressed. “It is our duty to cherish the memory of the generation of space explorers—to honor the courage and bravery of cosmonauts who ventured to explore the unknown, despite risks, those who developed unique space systems and vehicles, who trained crews for work in the orbit and to remember all those who used their labor and talent to lay the basis for and build up the country’s space potential. Moreover, our duty is to keep on striving to be on a par with the high standards set for us by the space pioneers,” the President stated.

 Affirming the need to attract young people to space industry, Putin stated that more than 50,000 people younger than 35 are currently employed in Russia’s space sector. “I suggest increasing by 50% the salary of those who have already been in space and have been holding prominent positions in the cosmonaut team. And by 70% for cosmonauts-to-be who currently undergo training,” President Putin said. “It is still difficult for them now to undertake maximum efforts for achievement of the overall deliverable. They even risk their lives and health.”


Brazil Media Covers the Schiller Institute Statement ‘President Alberto Fernández to China, Ibero-America to Mars’

Brazil’s Monitor Mercantil Covers the Schiller Institute Statement ‘President Alberto Fernández to China, Ibero-America to Mars’

April 13, 2021 (EIRNS)—Brazil’s Monitor Mercantil, a political analysis daily widely read in leading circles in that country, yesterday published a short article headlined: “Argentina Will Sign a Belt and Road Partnership with China.” It reads:

“Argentine President Alberto Fernández will visit China in May with a mission which is fundamental for Latin America: he will sign a Memorandum of Understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This is a global infrastructure project involving nearly 150 nations, which breaks out of the merely financial economy sponsored by London and Wall Street, in favor of a high-tech, science-driver approach to development.

“For Latin Americans, it is an opportunity to develop partnerships in the areas of technology and infrastructure. The Chinese have for some time shown an interest in rail projects in the region. What is important for us is to make the investments conditional on transfer of technology and development, so that Latin America doesn’t remain a mere exporter of raw materials, as in colonial times.

“‘Such development is the way—the only way—to stop the drug trade, stop desperate migration, stop the gangs, stop the poverty, and stop the pandemic,’ according to a document issued by the Schiller Institute. The Germany-based group views cooperation between Argentina and Mexico as a lever to attract international support to address the entire region. “Meanwhile, Brazil continues on poor terms with China and is leaving the BRICS aside. It is precisely from 3 of the 5 countries that make up that bloc (Russia, India and China) that the vaccines come that could pull our country out of the health and economic quagmire in which it is sunk.”  The coverage can be found at this link.


Schiller Institute Statement: President Alberto Fernández to China; Ibero-America to Mars!

Schiller Institute Statement: President Alberto Fernández to China; Ibero-America to Mars!

April 10 (EIRNS) — {The Schiller Institute today issued the following statement in Spanish for broad circulation in Ibero-America and Spain. Below is the English-language version.}

The upcoming May 2021 trip to China by Argentine President Alberto Fernández, in which he is scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with China on the Belt and Road Initiative – the global infrastructure project involving nearly 150 nations – presents a unique strategic opportunity.

1) All of Ibero-America can take a giant step towards finally breaking out of the straitjacket of financial looting by the dying London/Wall Street system, and join instead with the Belt and Road, sometimes called the New Silk Road, and its high-tech, science-driver approach to development.

2) An Argentina-Mexico axis can emerge to propose a game-changing policy in the Western Hemisphere: that China and the U.S. shall jointly work on developing the Mexican-Central American region in particular, and also all of Ibero-America, by cooperative efforts around extending the BRI into the region. Such development is the way – the only way – to stop the drug trade, stop desperate migration, stop the gangs, stop the poverty, and stop the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But is it possible?” people will ask skeptically. Can we really end poverty? Well, look at China, where 850 million people were lifted out of poverty in 40 years. If China can do it, why not we?

Can small nations actually hope to master the most advanced science and help develop breakthroughs for all mankind? Well, look at tiny United Arab Emirates, and their historic achievement of sending an orbiter to Mars. If the UAE can do it, why not we?

Can we really get the U.S. and China to cooperate in the development of Mexico and all the Americas, instead of heading towards confrontation and war which only serves the Establishment’s geopolitical interests? Yes – if the U.S. returns to its senses, and to the policies of its greatest sons: Washington, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon LaRouche. The current breakdown crisis of the Western financial system has now made that possibility a necessity – if the U.S. itself is to survive Wall Street’s unavoidable demise.

The key is space, beginning with an international 50-year Moon-Mars exploration and colonization project, powered by fusion power, that the nations of Ibero-America – especially their youth – must participate in.

It just so happens that two of the world’s premier space-launch sites are in the South American continent: Alcântara in Brazil, and Kourou in French Guiana. They are very close to the equator, which is a big advantage for space launches. Additionally, Argentina and Brazil both have very significant aerospace capabilities, which can help be the cornerstones for cooperation with China, the United States, and other space-faring nations such as Russia and India, to develop those space-launch sites in those two locations as centers of scientific and economic development for the entire region.

Argentine President Fernández should be entrusted with a mission on behalf of all of Ibero-America during his upcoming trip to China, especially in light of his developing close working relationship with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, which is already benefiting the whole region. In addition to the package of Argentine infrastructure projects that he is already planning to discuss with China’s President Xi Jinping – which importantly includes nuclear energy – Fernández should propose regional great development projects as well, especially in the field of space. Specifically, he should propose establishing two polytechnic institutes, or institutes for space science educational activity: one in Argentina and one in Mexico — perhaps in the city of Querétaro near Mexico City. These two centers will serve as centers of international scientific cooperation, and as poles of educational and technological progress required to bring the entire continent into this kind of high-technology space development. They will be centers of the emerging New Space Silk Road.

The other crucial area for cooperation is developing both the science and the health infrastructure needed to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic – and any new pandemics that might emerge to threaten mankind. Again, Argentina-Mexico cooperation is leading the way, and must be used as a lever to bring in international support to aid the entire region.

The Schiller Institute has long proposed a full set of regional infrastructure projects as part of the World Land-Bridge. We mention some of the key ones here:

1) Build a set of South American bi-oceanic rail corridors connecting the Atlantic to the Pacific (including a northern Brazil-Peru route; a central Brazil-Bolivia-Peru route; and a southern Brazil-Argentina-Paraguay-Uruguay-Chile route). All are viable; all are necessary.

2) Construct a North-South high-speed rail line extending all the way from Tierra del Fuego in the south to the Bering Strait tunnel in the north, traversing South America, the Darien Gap, and the entirety of Central America and Mexico. These would be development corridors of about 100 kms in width, with integrated power, industry, agriculture and communications infrastructure along the way. That would create millions of new productive jobs along the way, which is the sine qua non of defeating poverty and the associated drug trade and migration problems in the region.

3) Establish new centers for the industrialization of raw materials throughout Ibero-America, such as a major steel production center near the Mutún iron mine in Bolivia; aluminum plants near the plentiful bauxite in Jamaica, Guyana and Surinam; and so on. Stop the neo-colonial pattern of looting of raw materials in order to pay the foreign debt (various times over), leaving only poverty and devastation behind.

4) We need nuclear energy, and lots of it, as well as the total technological up-shift associated with this new energy platform – especially as we transition into fusion power. Solar and wind power are a bad joke. Their low energy flux density, their high physical-economic costs, and their intrinsically interruptible nature, mean a return to the technological platform of the Middle Ages, with a corresponding collapse of population to medieval levels. The Green New Deal is nothing but old, unscientific Malthusian depopulation policy, with a fresh coat of (green) paint.

That Malthusian agenda which is planned for the April 22-23 global summit on climate change, scheduled to start on Earth Day, has to be totally rejected – as it is beginning to be by nations such as India, China and others. In fact, Earth Day should simply be cancelled, and replaced by a more human holiday: Mars Day!

President Alberto Fernández’s upcoming trip to China can become the first step in Ibero-America’s participation in mankind’s mission to Mars.


Ingenuity Helicopter Successfully Dropped to Mars Surface; Will Fly 4/11

Ingenuity Helicopter Successfully Dropped to Mars Surface by Perseverance Rover; Will Fly 4/11

April 5 (EIRNS)–NASA was proud to announce that late on Saturday, April 3, the Perseverance rover successfully dropped the small helicopter Ingenuity four inches down to the surface of Mars where it will remain until April 11 when it is expected to take its first flight. The four-pound, solar-powered helicopter, had been attached to Perseverance’s “belly,” where it was kept warm by the rover’s nuclear-powered system, space.com reported April 4. Now that it is detached from Perseverance, the helicopter is using its internal battery to power its heater, to keep it warm through the frigid Martian nights. Bob Balaram, NASA’s chief engineer for the Mars Helicopter project, explained that the heater will protect key components “such as the battery and some of the sensitive electronics from harm at very cold temperatures.”

Ingenuity is designed to test technologies for future flying vehicles on other planets; it carries two cameras to document its flights, which the Perseverance rover will also observe. The data from its first flight on April 11 will reach NASA on April 12. Provided all goes well, Ingenuity will then perform several longer flights over Jezero Crater (where Perseverance landed) over the next 31 Martian days. Space.com reports that each flight should reach no higher than 16.5 feet, and will be conducted over a 300-foot-long (90 m) flight range.


South Korea’s President, Moon Jae-in, Pledges Lunar Lander by 2030

Mar. 29 (EIRNS)–The lunar initiative was made by Moon in a speech March 25 at the country’s Naro Space Center. He also stressed the push to give more support to commercial space enterprises, but distinguished between their contributions in space services, such as launch vehicles, the importance of building a space industry, versus the long-term government exploration programs.
            “We will actively push for challenging space exploration projects that build on the foundation achieved by developing a Korean launch vehicle,” Moon said. “By 2030, we will achieve our dream of landing on the Moon by using our own launch vehicle. The technological prowess, experience and confidence that will be gained from exploring the Moon, the first step in space exploration, will provide a solid foundation for space development.” This stress on an indigenous rocket is a result of an engine failure during a satellite launch, on a rocket with a Russian stage, which led to years of recriminations.
            Last month, the government pledged to spend 615 billion won ($553.1 million) on the space program this year. Given South Korea’s industrial capability it would seem that putting more resources into the space program could accelerate the lunar program. 


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