JISHOU, HUNAN — Well, I started by writing a straight update on the latest Chinese space mission, now humming along nicely, thank you, when I stumbled upon yet another video copypasta by the state TV service, CCTV.
In the midst of a CCTV news report, I caught a glimpse of scenes from what I think is a Hollywood movie. Here’s a couple of screencaps to show what I mean.
Those two astronauts are not Chinese, and anyway, Shenzhou 9 has three astronauts, including China’s first woman in space. And the switches are in … English?
CCTV News has done this kind of shameless uncredited cribbing (a national pastime here) before. Last year, eagle-eyed viewers realized a video clip of a fighter jet being blown up by a Chinese plane had actually come from the movie, Top Gun.
Watch this report and see if you can identify the movie. It looks familiar, but I can’t place it.
OK, now on with my report, now in progress…
JISHOU, HUNAN — China is mighty proud of its three astronauts, two men and one woman, now orbiting 220 miles around Earth. CCTV International devoted nearly 40 minutes to a live feed of the automated docking between the Shenzhou 9 capsule and the Tiangong-1 orbiting module.
CCTV does not apparently permit embedding of its videos, so you can go to this link if you want to watch Chinese astronauts doing the same things as American, Russian and European astronauts have done — float around and fiddle with expensive-looking equipment.
I have to say, though, these three are all business. None of the mugging for the camera and doing airborne somersaults like Americans have done. They seem to prefer hooking their feet into restraining loops instead of floating around. Boring …. just like Chinese TV programming on Earth.
The initial docking was done by computer on Monday. Today, the Shenzhou 9 crew is scheduled to climb back inside the capsule, back out of the garage into the street, and attempt a manual docking, with commander Jing Haipeng, at the helm. The images of his joystick controller in the video should be taken with a grain of salt, however. They’re probably from the same B-movie the others were lifted from.