Science: By Launching a "Taikonaut
", China Enters the.
The People's Liberation Army taikonaut
used handholds to maneuver along the exterior of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft during China's first extravehicular activity in space.
Immediately following the triumphant return of Yang Liwei, the Chinese announced that a Shenzhou VI launch, carrying three taikonauts
, would likely follow "within a year or two." Although the interim is longer than some people, including this author, anticipated, it is really not surprising.
The first two Chinese taikonauts
are active-duty PLAAF fighter pilots trained in Russia.
The United States will send our astronauts back to the Moon, but I'm sad to say that Chinese taikonauts
will already be there.
The four launches since 1999 of the Shenzhou (Divine or Sacred Vessel) spacecraft intended to launch the taikonauts
into orbit evidence substantial Chinese technical achievement and the seriousness of the program.
(4) "Launch and Research Facilities", Go Taikonauts
, Internet 7 February 2001, available from http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/Launchpad/1921/facilities.htm
Called Tinahe (meaning "heavenly harmony"), the core module would have living space for three taikonauts
(the Chinese word for astronauts) as well as the main control center for the orbiting laboratory.
Two Chinese astronauts (they are called "taikonauts
" locally) also spent (http://www.ibtimes.com/china-space-program-two-astronauts-return-earth-after-monthlong-tiangong-2-stay-2448073) 30 days aboard Tiangong-2 in October-November 2016.
Astronauts (called taikonauts
in China, a portmanteau of the Chinese word "taikong" meaning outer space and astronaut) for future missions could be picked from the industrial sector, research institutions and universities, Yang said, adding that women would also be encouraged to apply, according to local media reports.
The docking, broadcast live by state television, took place roughly 244 miles above Earth, after which the Chinese astronauts, or taikonauts
, had to maneuver through a narrow passage less than a meter wide to enter the space lab.
Yesterday, I read that China's space program has already launched the first taikonaut
into Low Earth Orbit, and, somehow, I expected myself not to reconsider love when I heard the word taikonaut
, to know that I exist in the same universe as taikonaut
, in the same general vicinity when seen from, say, Jupiter's carousel of moons and comets.