Devon Island Expedition

Devon Island Expedition
This blog features educational updates on my Devon Island Expedition of July 14-20, 2007. Other sites:,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I am laughing out loud! There is a thing going around the internet these days (a Powerpoint presentation, actually), which purports to show that the Chinese faked their spacewalk last September. I received it from people who work for NASA!!

There are many technical inaccuracies in the presentation, the folks who put it together know nothing about EVA, or about how to train for an EVA. This reminds me of the people who claim that the moon landings were all faked.

It's a good way to generate some controversy among the uninformed, and perhaps, make a few dollars. But, other than that, it is just wonderful to watch. You've got to enjoy a con that has even professionals in the business asking questions.

Really, it has to do with not wanting to believe that the Chinese did a spacewalk. But, as I wrote in my last post, the winds are shifting. Secretary of State Clinton is in Asia at this moment. Things are going to change. Who knows? Maybe China will become a partner in the ISS after all?

The bottom line, is that moonwalk or spacewalk, it would be more difficult to fake. Just think of the army of people who would have to be in on the conspiracy, who would have to keep their mouths shut.

Don't believe it!

Leroy Chiao

1 comment:

Space Pete said...

Aah. I have heard if this theory before.

Well, I guess nobody can ever give a 100% true/false answer - somebody always has had, and always will have, a conspiracy theory for every major event in history. There can only ever be opinion. However, there are credible opinions based on fact, & then there are opinions based on nothing more than someone's perception of events.

My opinion on China's space walk: I don't think it’s impossible that China could have faked it, but I do think it is unlikely. However, there are a few unanswered questions.

I will now simply state nothing more that MY opinion on the issues raised in the video below:
I'm not trying to steer anyone into a particular point of view, I will simply state my opinion, which I will base purely on my own experiences/facts (which in turn may be wrong):

Q1. The mission commander slipped, saying the astronauts entered "into water" as they exited their craft

A1. Hmm. I don't speak Mandarin, so I really can't comment much on that. Perhaps just a bad translation? However, I doubt that anyone could make such a basic mistake as this. But, if true, it certainly is an anomaly in the argument that the space walk was real.

Q2. Bubbles can be seen floating up. The bubble speeds up. How is this possible in zero-g?

A2. Well, bubbles are usually rounded, and are always flat on the side facing upwards. They also usually change shape, and fragment into smaller bubbles. Well, these bubbles appeared angular, and spun & tumbled away from the spacecraft. Some floated away toward the 11 o'clock position, some headed toward 1 o'clock. Real bubbles always go straight up at 90 degrees. Anything loose inside the cabin is liable to float away on EVA (although, why would there be so many loose objects in the spacecraft? And if they were just objects floating away, that doesn't account for the speed of them. If the capsule was a vacuum, the only way objects could reach those speeds is if something assisted their speed. Space could not suck them to those speeds on its own). Also, the supposed "bubbles" do not appear to increase in speed to me. And surely is this was all done underwater, there would be more bubbles? In my opinion, this is indeed another unanswered question.

Q3. Rows of light can be seen where open space should be.

A3. Well, as the wrist mirror is pointing directly at the camera, I would say that those are simply the lights on or around the camera illuminating the astronaut. Also, if this was underwater, wouldn't there be rippling effects on the water's surface from all the underwater movement & so called "wave machines"? The ripples would obscure the image of the ceiling lights if this was the case, but instead, the image is crystal clear.

Q4. The Chinese flag moves like it is underwater

A4. Well, maybe this guy hasn't ever been underwater, but underwater the flag would be trailing behind the stick, fluttering like a streamer. At one point, the flag is sticking straight up while the stick is being waved. This would not be possible underwater, due to resistance.

Q5. Why don't the astronaut's ever let go?

A5. Because it's standard EVA procedure not to let go unless absolutely necessary. Remember the Chinese Feitian spacesuits do not have a SAFER system.

Q6. Why is Earth always in the same position?

A6. This guy has obviously never heard of ATTITUDE CONTROL.

Q7. Earth's clouds move very quickly.


Q8. Why is the video & audio so clear? Compared with Russian & USA space walks, the quality is much higher.

A8. Because this video is probably not a live downlink. This was probably recorded on-board in HD, then down linked to the ground. If the EVA was broadcast live on TV, then streamed over the net like US space walks, it would not look so good either. Just look at the quality of video MCC-H get US EVA's - 50", HD, no flickering.....

And the most basic question: Why would they fake it?

It's not like an EVA is anything special these days. I could understand them faking a landing on Mars, but not an EVA, that has been commonplace with most other space agencies since the 1960's. It wouldn't even be that hard to do anyway. If you're on orbit, all you got to do is suit up, de-pressurise & open a hatch. Why fake something so simple? It's not like it's beyond China's capability. A rocket definitely launched, where do you suppose it went? If it was in space, it would be relatively easy to perform an EVA (with the right equipment).

I just don't see why a developed country would fake something that has been possible for the last half a century.

MY opinion: This video lacks credibility. It is opinion that is not credible or based on fact.
But maybe others have different opinions?

I heard a supposed JSC employee did a TV interview saying China's EVA was a fake, that he had proof. However, NASA had no records of anyone of his name being employed by them.

To summarise: There are indeed some interesting points raised in the aforementioned video, but they don't necessarily prove the EVA was a fake. There are just as credible theories for their occurrence that prove they were normal parts of any standard EVA.

Of course, I'm no EVA expert (that tile is yours, Dr, Chaio :-), but in my opinion, based on evidence I have seen, I am more likely to agree that the EVA was real, than I am to agree it was a fake.


And about China participating in the ISS:

Well, why not? China are starting their own space station this year anyway I believe, what is the point of building something that already exists? We might as well work together for the benefit of all mankind, than work against each other on the same thing just to prove each other's political stance is better than the other's.

China is more likely to listen to the west if we befriend them, instead of push them into a corner. That would just motivate them even more to work against the west, and who knows, that could eventually lead to another cold war.
Remember Russia & China border each other. With US relations with Russia becoming increasingly frosty, it won't be long before Russia & China realise that if they join forces, they can become a greater superpower than Europe & the US combined, especially with Russia's energy resources.
It would be much better for the US the befriend China & Russia, than push them away.
If China get's a taste of western lifestyle, I'm pretty sure communism would just "fizzle out" in the next 10-15 years or so.

Although, simply working together is space is not enough to achieve this. The US & Russia work together in space, but this has not done much to improve current political relations.
However, it's a start.

Well, sorry for the long post (when I get going on space flight, I just can't stop :-)