Our Fact Sheets and Reports
CHINA'S HUMAN SPACEFLIGHT PROGRAM: BACKGROUND AND LIST OF ALL CREWED AND AUTOMATED LAUNCHES -- a SpacePolicyOnline.com fact sheet. Updated June 26, 2013. (Download PDF version)
China's human spaceflight program, Project 921, officially began in 1992. The launch of Shenzhou-10 in June 2013 was the tenth flight in the series, but only the fifth to carry a crew.
Shenzhou 1-4 were automated tests of the spacecraft. Shenzhou-8 was an automated test of rendezvous and docking procedures with the Tiangong-1 space station.
Tiangong-1, China's first space station, was launched in September 2011. It hosted the automated Shenzhou-8 in 2011 and two three-person crews: Shenzhou-9 in 2012 and Shenzhou-10 in 2013.
The Tiangong-1 space station is a small (8.6 metric ton) module. As first space stations go, it is rather modest -- just less than half the mass of the world's first space station, the Soviet Union's Salyut 1. Launched in 1971, Salyut 1 had a mass of about 18.6 metric tons. The first U.S. space station, Skylab, launched in 1973, had a mass of about 77 metric tons. Today's International Space Station (ISS), a partnership among the United States, Russia, Japan, Europe, and Canada, has a mass of about 400 metric tons and has been permanently occupied by 2-6 person crews rotating on 4-6 month missions since the year 2000.
Chinese astronauts are often called "taikonauts" in the West. English-language Chinese reports call them astronauts. Shenzhou means Divine Vessel. Tiangong means Heavenly Palace. All human spaceflight-related launches have been from the Jiuquan Space Launch Center in the Gobi desert.
The following SpacePolicyOnline.com table lists all ten Chinese human spaceflight missions to date, including automated tests and those that carried crews.
Legislative Checklist 113th Congress: Major Space-Related Legislation is a free SpacePolicyOnline.com fact sheet that provides information on major legislation concerning the U.S. space program (civil, military, commercial) pending before or passed by the 113th Congress (2013-2014). Information includes bill numbers, dates of action taken by congressional committees, and links to legislation and related congressional committee reports. The fact sheet was updated as needed throughout the 113th Congress. This is the final version, dated January 3, 2015.
NASA's FY2013 Budget Request is a SpacePolicyOnline.com fact sheet that tracked NASA's FY2013 budget request as it worked its way through Congress. The fact sheet summarizes three key issues that arose while Congress debated the bill: robotic Mars exploration, whether to transfer NOAA's weather satellite programs to NASA, and funding for the commercial crew program.
This edition of the fact sheet includes final funding figures for NASA from its FY2013 operating plan, which was approved in August 2013. NASA has not released the operating plan to the public, but provided the figures in this fact sheet upon request by SpacePolicyOnline.com on August 29, 2013. In addition, it includes a chart using data provided by NASA's planetary science division director with additional details on the final FY2013 funding figures for specific planetary exploration programs.
The current date of this fact sheet is September 4, 2013.
FY2013 Budget Request for Space Activities: Where to Find Agency Budget Documentation is a SpacePolicyOnline.com fact sheet that provides links to FY2013 budget request documentation for U.S. government space activities. Included are links to budget materials for the Department of Defense (DOD), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) Office of Commercial Space Transportation, and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which operates the Landsat land remote sensing satellites. This fact sheet is dated September 15, 2012 and updates the link for NOAA's Blue Book.
Box Score of 2011 Space Launches is a free fact sheet from SpacePolicyOnline.com that shows the total number of space launches in 2011 by Russia, the United States, Europe (Arianespace), China, Japan, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea and South Korea. The table shows how many space launches were successful and how many were failures.
Legislative Checklist: Major Space-Related Legislation in the 112th Congress, A SpacePolicyOnline.com Fact Sheet
Legislative Checklist: Major Space-Related Legislation in the 112th Congress is a SpacePolicyOnline.com fact sheet that tracked major space-related legislation as it moved through the 112th Congress (the years 2011-2012).
Bill numbers, report numbers, and dates when major steps in the legislative process -- such as subcommittee and full commitee markup, floor consideration, conference action, and signing into law -- are shown. It includes funding bills for NASA, NOAA, DOD and the Office of Commercial Space Transportation at the Federal Aviation Administration, including the FY2013 Continuing Resolution that funds the government through March 27, 2013. It also includes legislation to extend the government's authority to indemnify commercial launch services companies from claims by third parties (the general public) for certain amounts of money if there is a launch accident, to ease export controls on commercial satellitles, and to rename the Dryden Flight Research Center after Neil Armstrong.
This fact sheet was updated many times throughout the 112th Congress. This is the final version and is dated January 18, 2013.
What's a Markup? Answers to That and Other Legislative Mysteries. A SpacePolicyOnline.com Fact Sheet
Note: A newer version of this SpacePolicyOnline.com fact sheet is available dated January 3, 2015, but we are keeping the link to this older version for historical purposes.
Ever wonder what a congressional "markup" is and why you should be interested when one is being held? Our new fact sheet, "What's a Markup?: Answers to That and Other Legislative Mysteries ," is an easy to read introduction to the lexicon of Congress and the making of legislation. It offers a general overview of the typical path that legislation follows, but is not a comprehensive guide. The Senate and the House of Representatives have links on their home pages to scholarly reports on how our laws are made for those who require a detailed understanding. Ours is for those who just need the basics. A fresh coat of paint was put on this fact sheet in February 2011.
NASA's FY2012 Budget Request is a SpacePolicyOnline.com fact sheet that tracked NASA's FY2012 budget request as it worked its way through Congress and shows the final FY2012 appropriations for the agency. The report was most recently updated on January 11, 2012.
FY2012 Budget Documentation: Where To Find Agency Budgets is a SpacePolicyOnline.com Fact Sheet that provides links to FY2012 budget request documentation for U.S. government space activities. Included are links to budget documentation for the Department of Defense, Department of Energy's Office of Science, FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation, NOAA's National Environmental Satellite Service, NASA, and the U.S. Geological Survey (which operates the Landsat satellites). This fact sheet will not be updated.
NASA's FY2011 Appropriations: Final Action in the 112th Congress is a SpacePolicyOnline.com fact sheet that tracked congressional action on NASA's FY2011 budget in the 112th Congress and shows the final appropriations amounts for the agency in the full-year Continuing Resolution (P.L. 112-10). The final version is dated April 19, 2011; it will not be updated again.