China posts fake rocket launch story. Why Would They?
October 3, 2008 9:15pm CST
I have read that CHINA'S leading Xinhua news agency has reported the successful flight of the Shenzhou VII - complete with detailed dialogue between the astronauts - hours before the nation's third-ever manned space mission had even lifted off. On Thursday morning, Xinhua posted a story on its website saying the Shenzhou capsule had been successfully tracked flying over the Pacific Ocean even though the rocket and its three astronauts had not yet been launched. The article, dated September 27, described the rocket in flight, complete with a sharply detailed dialogue between the three astronauts. Could China really do such a thing? Why do they have to do it? Is this another hoax like Apollo astronauts landing in the moon? What do you think. Here is an excerpt from news.com.au"After this order, signal lights all were switched on, various data show up on rows of screens, hundreds of technicians staring at the screens, without missing any slightest changes ..."One minute to go!' 'Changjiang No.1 found the target! ..."The firm voice of the controller broke the silence of the whole ship. Now, the target is captured 12 seconds ahead of the predicted time ..."The air pressure in the cabin is normal!"Ten minutes later, the ship disappears below the horizon. Warm clapping and excited cheering breaks the night sky, echoing across the silent Pacific Ocean."An editor at Xinhau told AFP that the story had been posted due to a technical problem."We dealt with it after we had found it," the editor said. The Shenzhou VII was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Centre in northwestern China shorlty after 9pm (AEST) Thursday. The mission, expected to last three to four days, is devoted almost entirely to the execution of the spacewalk, and is expected to help China master the technology for docking two orbiters to create the country's first orbiting space station in the next few years.
12 Oct 08
The mission definitely happened. China would be no more capable of hoaxing a space mission than the Americans or Soviets were - too many other governments with tracking facilities, intelligence agencies etc. Given the totalitarian nature of the Chinese government, they would have had detailed press releases ready in advance of the mission so that all the media were telling the same story when the time came.