Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Yang Liwei:

A salute to China's first man in space. As with previous forays outside the Middle Kingdom, the explorer voyages to space, finds nothing of note to compare with heaven on Earth, and returns.

I was somewhat disappointed to see there were no visible passes of the Shenzou 5 over my home this morning (and it was raining last night, so no joy there...). I make it a habit to be aware of passes by the ISS and its supply vehicles (Shuttle or Soyuz), so seeing Shenzou would have been a treat. The best places I have found for these pass forecasts are Heavens Above and (ISS over N. America only).

Unfortunately, despite the crowing by the People's Liberation Army Daily, I really doubt Yang Liwei's name will be remembered. He will become a footnote, like all spacefarers except Gagarin, Armstrong, and whoever first sets foot on Mars. All the others are simply in second place, and history is very cruel to vice-presidents. I've droned on about that before...

There has been a lot in the news about what Chinese space voyagers are to be called, since America launches astronauts and Russia launches cosmonauts. Lately the U.S. and Russia have even launched one-another's citizens, and terminological confusion results.

Perhaps English and Russian share enough linguistic roots that the Greek sounds of 'astronaut' and 'cosmonaut' are acceptable to both Russian and English ears. I agree with China (and the Fowler brothers!) that taikonaut is simply a barbarism, but I have to say my Indo-European ear has a problem with yuhangyuan, the preferred official Chinese term.

The other item in the news is the question of a new space race. One reason to doubt there will be a space race is that America and Russia have already launched, collectively, 66 foreigners from 33 countries.

Here is a list of every mission launch with a foreigner onboard. Please note this does does include Russian and American interchanges, but does not include foreigners on landing craft, or stays aboard foreign stations -- because of crew and craft rotations, those are different lists! These are launches ONLY.
  • 1978: Vladimir Remek, Czechoslovakia, Soyuz 28/Salyut 6 Intercosmos 1
  • 1978: Miroslaw Hermaszewski, Poland, Soyuz 30/Salyut 6 Intercosmos 2
  • 1978: Sigmund Jaehn, East Germany, Soyuz 31/Salyut 6 Intercosmos 3
  • 1979: Georgi Ivanov, Bulgaria, Soyuz 33/Salyut 6 Intercosmos 4
  • 1980: Bertalan Farkas, Hungary, Soyuz 36/Salyut 6 Intercosmos 5
  • 1980: Pham Tuan, Vietnam, Soyuz 37/Salyut 6 Intercosmos 6
  • 1980: Arnaldo Tamayo-Méndez, Cuba, Soyuz 38/Salyut 6 Intercosmos 7
  • 1981: Zhurderdemidiyin Gurragcha, Mongolia, Soyuz 39/Salyut 6 Intercosmos 8
  • 1981: Dmitriu Prunariu, Romania, Soyuz 40/Salyut 6 Intercosmos 9
  • 1982: Jean-Loup Chrétien, France, Soyuz T-6/Salyut 7 Intercosmos 10
  • 1984: Rakesh Sharma, India, Soyuz T-11/Salyut 7 Intercosmos 11
  • 1984: Paul Scully-Power and Marc Garneau, Canada, STS-41G
  • 1985: J.M. Baudry, France, and S.A.A. al-Saud, Saudi Arabia, STS-51G
  • 1985: R. Furrer, W. Ockels, and E. Messerschmid, West Germany, STS-61A
  • 1985: R. Neri Vela, Mexico, STS-61B
  • 1987: Mohammed al-Faris, Syria, Soyuz TM-3/Mir
  • 1988: Aleksandr Aleksandrov, Bulgaria, Soyuz TM-5/Mir
  • 1988: Abdul Mohmand, Afghanistan, Soyuz TM-6/Mir
  • 1988: Jean-Loup Chrétien, France, Soyuz TM-7/Mir (2nd flight)
  • 1990: Toyohiro Akiyama, Japan, Soyuz TM-11/Mir (1st commercial passenger)
  • 1991: Helen Sharman, United Kingdom, Soyuz TM-12/Mir
  • 1991: Toktar Aubakirov, Kazakhstan, and Franz Viehboeck, Austria, Soyuz TM-13/Mir
  • 1992: Ulf Merbold, Germany, and R. Bondar, Canada, STS-42
  • 1992: Klaus-Dietrich Flade, Germany, Soyuz TM-14/Mir
  • 1992: Michel Tognini, France, Soyuz TM-15/Mir
  • 1992: C. Nicollier, Switzerland, and F. Malerba, Italy, STS-46
  • 1992: M. Mohri, Japan, STS-47
  • 1992: S. MacLean, Canada, STS-52
  • 1993: H. Schlegel and U. Walter, Germany, STS-55
  • 1993: Jean-Paul Haignere, France, Soyuz TM-17/Mir
  • 1993: C. Nicollier, Switzerland, STS-61 (2nd flight)
  • 1994: Sergei Krikalev, Russia, STS-60 (first Russian in US program)
  • 1994: C. Naito-Mukai, Japan, STS-65
  • 1994: Ulf Merbold, Germany, Soyuz TM20/Mir (2nd flight, 1st w/ Russia)
  • 1994: Jean-François Clervoy, France, STS-66
  • 1995: V.G. Titov, Russia, STS-63
  • 1995: Norm Thagard, USA, Soyuz TM-21/Mir (1st American in Russian program)
  • 1995: Anatoli Solovyov and Nikolai Budarin, Russia, STS-71/Mir
  • 1995: Thomas Reiter, Germany, Soyuz TM-22/Mir
  • 1995: Chris Hadfield, Canada, STS-74/Mir
  • 1996: K. Wakata, Japan, STS-72
  • 1996: M. Cheli and Umberto Guidoni, Italy, and C. Nicollier (3rd flight), Switzerland, STS-75
  • 1996: Marc Garneau, Canada, STS-77 (2nd flight)
  • 1996: J.-J. Favier, France, and R. Thirsk, Canada, STS-78
  • 1996: Claudie André-Deshays, France, Soyuz TM-24/Mir
  • 1997: Reinhold Ewald, Germany, Soyuz TM-25/Mir
  • 1997: Jean-François Clervoy (2nd flight), France, and Y.V. Kondakova, Russia, STS-84/Mir
  • 1997: B.V. Tryggvason, Canada, STS-85
  • 1997: Jean-Loup Chrétien (3rd flight, 1st w/ US), France, and V.G. Titov (2nd flight), STS-86/Mir
  • 1997: T. Doi, Japan, and L. Kadenyuk, Ukraine, STS-87
  • 1998: Salizhan Sharipov, Russia, STS-89
  • 1998: Leopold Eyharts, France, Soyuz TM-27
  • 1998: D. Williams, Canada, STS-90
  • 1998: Valeri Ryumin, Russia, STS-91/Mir
  • 1998: Pedro Duque, Spain, and C. Mukai, Japan, STS-95
  • 1998: Sergei Krikalev, Russia, STS-88/ISS (2nd flight)
  • 1999: Ivan Bella, Slovakia, and Jean-Paul Haignere (2nd flight), France, Soyuz TM-29/Mir
  • 1999: J. Payette, Canada, and Valery Tokarev, Russia, STS-96/ISS
  • 1999: Michel Tognini, France, STS-93 (2nd flight, 1st w/ US)
  • 1999: Claude Nicollier (4th flight), Switzerland, and Jean-François Clervoy (3rd flight, 1st w/ US), France, STS-103
  • 2000: M. Mohri, Japan, and Gerhard Thiele, Germany, STS-99
  • 2000: Yuri Usachev, Russia, STS-101/ISS
  • 2000: Yuri Malenchenko and Boris Morukov, Russia, STS-106/ISS
  • 2000: Koichi Wakata, Japan, STS-92/ISS (2nd flight)
  • 2000: William Shepherd, USA, Soyuz TM-31/ISS
  • 2000: Marc Garneau, Canada, STS-97/ISS (3rd flight)
  • 2001: Yuri Usachev, Russia, STS-102/ISS (2nd flight)
  • 2001: Chris Hadfield (2nd flight), Canada, Umberto Guidoni (2nd flight), Italy, and Yuri Lonchakov, Russia, STS-100/ISS
  • 2001: Dennis Tito, USA, Soyuz TM-32/ISS (1st paying tourist)
  • 2001: Vladimir Dezhurov and Mikhail Tyurin, Russia, STS-105/ISS
  • 2001: Claudie Haignere (2nd flight), France, Soyuz TM-33/ISS
  • 2001: Yuri Onufrienko, Russia, STS-108/ISS
  • 2002: Roberto Vittori, Italy, and Mark Shuttleworth (2nd paying tourist), South Africa, Soyuz TM-34/ISS
  • 2002: Philippe Perrin, France, Valery Korzun and Segei Treschev, Russia, STS-111/ISS
  • 2002: Fyodor Yurchikhin, Russia, STS-112/ISS
  • 2002: Frank De Winne, Belgium, Soyuz TMA-1/ISS
  • 2002: Nikolai Budarin, Russia, STS-113/ISS
  • 2003: Ilan Ramon, Israel, STS-107
  • 2003: Ed Lu, USA, Soyuz TMA-2/ISS
  • 2003: Michael Foale, USA, and Pedro Duque, Spain, Soyuz TMA-3/ISS

The order of countries having citizens in space is therefore:

  1. USSR
  2. USA
  3. Czechoslovakia
  4. Poland
  5. East Germany
  6. Bulgaria
  7. Hungary
  8. Vietnam
  9. Cuba
  10. Mongolia
  11. Romania
  12. France
  13. India
  14. Canada
  15. Saudi Arabia
  16. West Germany
  17. Mexico
  18. Syria
  19. Afghanistan
  20. Japan
  21. United Kingdom
  22. Kazakhstan
  23. Austria
  24. Russia
  25. Germany
  26. Switzerland
  27. Italy
  28. Ukraine
  29. Spain
  30. Slovakia
  31. South Africa
  32. Belgium
  33. Israel, and
  34. China

So China is the 34th country into space, and that is why many do not think this is such a great achievement. But the real achievement is that China did not depend, as these other countries did, on the infrastructure of either the USA or the USSR/Russia to launch a citizen.

But did they? Isn't Shenzou simply a souped-up Soyuz? That's another post.