Epoch Times 
Monday, Oct 20, 2008
CCTV ran a live broadcast of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft launch to mark the second phase of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s Project 921 at the end of September. This video footage, however, contains many unexplainable physical phenomena. These anomalies from the broadcast, which include bubbles in space, no evidence of the earth’s atmosphere, and the lack of background noise usually hear in space communication, call into question the legitimacy of the mission itself. Upon analyzing this footage, some even suspect the live broadcast was a fraud that employed an analogue video taken under water to simulate conditions in space.
Clouds abruptly changed in scale within two seconds during the live broadcast of Shenzhou VII spaceship launch. (video still at 5 minutes 43 seconds)
Clouds abruptly changed in scale within two seconds during the live broadcast of Shenzhou VII spaceship launch. (video still at 5 minutes 45 seconds)
Hoping to understand these anomalies, The Epoch Times contacted Chinese expert Dr. Qu Zheng, who worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, to scientifically analyze the video discrepancies of the spacewalk broadcast.
Reporter: Dr. Qu Zheng, there have been concerns raised about the live broadcast of the CCP Shenzhou VII Spacecraft launch? What’s your view on this?
Qu Zheng: I have seen it all. My research is related to the launch of this spacecraft so I have been watching it very closely. In addition, since I am Chinese, anything happening in China—especially things related to my field of research—grabs even more of my attention.
Personally, although I know the CCP regime has a history of fraudulent activity, where they often do things for political gain, when I saw these discrepancies, I didn’t want to believe them—I wanted the live broadcast to be true. If this video which was broadcasted to the whole world is a fraud, not only will this make the Chinese people lose face in front of the whole world, I will personally not be able to hold my head up in front of my colleagues.
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Unfortunately, when I watched the live broadcast provided by CCTV, I was shocked. Although not all of the doubts raised by the people on the blogs are legitimate, many of them are indeed very accurate. The problems in the video all involve simple physics, so it doesn’t require a very high level of professional insight to see what is going on.
Besides, from my own observation and analysis, I have found even more discrepancies. They incontestably confirm that this so-called live broadcasting never took place in space.
Reporter: What are your suspicions? Can you give us a detail explanation?
Qu Zheng: Of course. In addition to the air bubble problem pointed out by bloggers, they also includes technical pre-launch concerns, a lack of atmosphere around the Earth, abrupt large scale changes in the clouds, and no background noise heard in the space-talk.
Advanced Launching of the Shenzhou VII
Reporter: Some Internet users question the advanced launching that you just mentioned. Could you please talk about it from a technical point of view?
Qu Zheng: The proper launch time for a spaceship is called the launch window, which may last several days, several hours, or even minutes in some cases, and is generally predicted by computer simulations. The factors that decide the launch window include the sunlight angle, which affects the solar panel of the spaceship; the solar radiation, which affects the infrared sensor of the control system; and the temperature and shape of the spaceship.
Aerospace testing is complex system engineering. Once the launch window is determined, it cannot be casually changed without very special considerations. Oftentimes, delaying the launch time is due to technical or weather reasons. Advanced launching is very rare as it means disrupting the scheduled plan. The certainty of success will decrease. The launching of Shenzhou VII is an exploration test for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). No one has 100 percent certainty of success and the best launch window has to be selected.
Early on the CCP media reported that mid-October would offer the best launch window. Even the PLA’s General Equipment Department refuted the rumor of an advanced launch. However, the CCP suddenly announced on September 6 that the spaceship would be launched at a pre-set time at the end of September, as it was “a very good launching window.” Regarding this advanced launch, the Xinhua New Agency said:
“According to some aerospace experts, there is a proper launch window both in September and October. But the sunlight angle in September is better for spacewalk. This is the main reason for the advanced launch.”
This was playing a word game. In September the sunlight angle is a little bit different from in October. However, the computation of the solar position is not difficult and can be done even a year in advance. It is not necessary to wait until September 6 to know that launching at the end of September is better for spacewalk! It’s obvious that there were other reasons behind moving the launch to an earlier date.
One possible reason was political. If the advanced launch was a political order, then using video recording as direct seeding was possible, to guarantee a complete success.
Video Discrepancy 1: Why Was There No Atmosphere Around the Earth in the Video?
Reporter: Among the discrepancies you raised about the live broadcast, one was the lack of an atmosphere around the earth. Please elaborate.
Qu Zheng: Please take a look at this video:
It was shot by NASA’s space shuttle Discovery STS-121 on July 2006 during a mission at the International Space Station (ISS). When the shuttle observes the earth following the tangential direction, i.e., the spherical edge of the earth, we can see that there is a soft circle of blue around the earth, making the edge of the earth image a bit blurry.
This is the atmosphere of the earth. This blue circle becomes even more apparent when there are clouds over the earth. The appearance of this blue is due to the same reason behind why we see the sky as blue—air molecules scatter blue light more strongly. Because air molecules are mainly concentrated within 15 kilometers of the earth’s surface, and given the earth’s radius of 6,370 kilometers, at this distance it just becomes a thin layer.
NASA image of the earth taken from space on July 2006. In this video snapshot, the atmosphere can be clearly seen. ()
In this video still from the Xinhua News Agency’s live broadcast of Shenzhou VII spacewalk, the atmosphere is missing. ()
Let us take a look at the photo (see photo above) in the Xinhua news report or the so-called live broadcast video. The edge of the earth near the top of the Shenzhou VII shuttle was almost smooth, and there was no blue atmosphere around it. Similar to the ISS, Shenzhou VII also maintained a close to circular orbit, with both flying at a distance of about 340 kilometers from the earth’s surface.
Someone might ask whether this is due to the angle of the sun. Yes, at sunset, we see the sky to be red. It is because when we look towards the sun, the blue lights were scattered away, and the rest of the sunlight becomes reddish. However when the astronaut Zhai Zhigang exited the space shuttle, the sun was almost right above the space shuttle, appearing at the bottom of the video, so it happened to illuminate the earth. The solar panel shown in the video was almost vertical to the sun—this is actually a factor that needs to be considered when selecting the launch window. If this mission were performed under sunset conditions, the solar panel would not be able to obtain enough energy. In fact, according to the space surveillance data released by the U.S. Department of Defense (http://www.space-track.org/), the space shuttle location when Zhai exited the shuttle was at 50.02 degrees east longitude and 4.32 degrees north latitude. At Beijing time 16:45, the solar incident angle (the angle from the direction directly overhead) is 7.03 degrees.
The Shenzhou VII simulation photo published by the Xinhua news (see photo below) shows the blue atmosphere correctly. This indicates that the video is not shot live. Then why would it lose the blue atmosphere? I will continue this topic in my discussion over the next discrepancy.
Video Discrepancy 2: Why Were There Large Abrupt Changes Noticed in the Cloud Layer?
This Shenzhou VII simulation photo published by the Xinhua news shows the atmosphere. ()
Reporter: You mentioned that “there were large abrupt changes in the cloud layer.” What does this mean?
Qu Zheng: Some people found that this live video broadcast
showed large abrupt changes in the cloud layer between 5 minutes 43 seconds and 5 minutes 45 seconds (see photo). In fact, if you look at the original video directly, one can see the changes even more clearly. Under normal circumstances, cloud layer movement should be continuous—it is impossible to have large abrupt changes occurring in a second. Some people attribute it to Shenzhou VII flying too fast. This is misleading.
The cloud layer at 5 minutes 43 seconds. (Video snapshot)
The cloud layer at 5 minutes 45 seconds. (Video snapshot)
In fact, Shenzhou VII traveled very fast—its orbital period was about 90 minutes. If taken into consideration that the earth is also rotating in the same direction, with on orbital period of 24 hours, the moving speed of the shuttle nadir point (i.e. the space shuttle’s vertical projection on the earth’s surface) can reach seven kilometers per second. This means the scope of the cloud changing the video is very large and its change speed is very fast. The video has the words “CCTV-1” displayed on screen. The place on the frame where the “1” is displayed, there was a large blue ocean with no clouds one second, but was almost covered by white clouds in the next second. Though there was no scale reference in the video, we can make a simple estimation: because the cloud’s own moving speed can be neglected when compared with the nadir point of the shuttle moving at a speed of seven kilometers per second, the cloud movement we observe can be attributed only to the shuttle movement, which is about seven kilometers per second.
Though the cloud movement at the edge of the earth appeared slower, due to the tilt angle at the edge, the scale there is actually larger than it appears in the image. That is the speed for cloud movement everywhere in the photo should be around seven kilometers per second. From this estimation, the blue range displayed near the number “1” should cover around 100 km, i.e., what was shown in the video is that a range of 100 km was covered by a thin layer of clouds that moved over within one second. If any cloud could truly move that fast, its velocity would have already exceeded cosmic speeds, and would quickly leave the earth’s atmosphere. Thus, judging from this video clip, this cannot be a live broadcast.
Then how can we see such a phenomenon? If the video clip was not shot live, but was instead an animation made using 3D graphic software by adding to the earth’s surface background of the cloud map that was shot at a time close to the time when Zhai exited the shuttle, then it is possible to have such a situation. What was shown in the video was likely due to a mistake the animator made in the relationship between the cloud’s own animation speed and the animation speed for the earth rotation (actually an impression caused by the space shuttle orbiting around the earth), causing the cloud layer to move too fast. However such a mistake cannot be easily detected without careful examination.
If one observes the cloud layer in the video more carefully, one can see a similar phenomenon at other time segments, where changes in the cloud layer covered dozens of kilometers or more within one to two seconds. It is just that their range was not so large and was hence less obvious. Perhaps the animator took the footage of cloud changes over half an hour or longer and made it into a several second long clip. Moreover, since such 3D graphic software generally cannot simulate the thin layer of atmosphere around the earth, this can explain why the atmosphere was missing in the video.
Video Discrepancy 3: Bubbles in Space?
Reporter: Bubbles in the video were one of the first doubts bloggers raised. But later on, different versions of explanations were posted, including dust in the atmosphere or perhaps pressure on the orbital module. What do you think of this?
Qu Zheng: Everyone knows that there are no bubbles in space. Many people have noticed small objects that look like bubbles flying out of the top of the screen in the live broadcast video. It was explained that those were debris or residue driven by the air currents in the cabin. In fact, the orbital module is only 7.2 feet wide and 9 feet long, less than half the size of an ordinary bedroom.
For such a small cabin, within a second after the door opens the internal pressure must be balanced by pressure from outside, which in space is zero. So when Zhai Zhigang got out, where could the air flow come from? We all know that, under a vacuum and weightless situation, objects fly without resistance but they need an initial velocity. However, in the video
we can see small objects fly upward with high speed from time to time. For example, at 0 minutes 3 seconds, small objects flew from the cabin door to the top right corner of the screen; at 5 minutes 49 seconds, they emerged from the astronaut’s helmet at the right side of the screen; at 6 minutes 42 seconds, they burst from the capsule; at 7 minutes 17 seconds, they burst from the top left corner of the screen and flew diagonally upward.
Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center explained that the bubbles were most likely to be “dust in the atmosphere” or small debris from the spacecraft. I don’t understand what the “dust in the atmosphere” really is given a 340 km altitude in space. Even if this were space dust, the number of times the astronauts ran into the dust seemed to be too many, considering the low density of space dust of such a large size. How come we didn’t see so much space dust in Russian and American videos?
In addition, the dust’s flying speed relative to spacecraft can be random. Why were the small objects all flying to the top of the screen in the video? If they were debris drifting from the spacecraft or spacesuits, they should keep flying at a constant velocity. How did they get the initial speed?
I would like to bring everyone’s attention the small objects flying from Zhai’s mouth at 5 minutes 49 seconds. The picture is very clear to show the characteristics of the bubbles: First, the small objects were very slow when they first appeared, and then they gradually sped up. This conforms to the characteristics of moving bubbles affected by buoyancy. Second, the size of the small objects became larger as they moved. This also conforms to the rule that bubbles will expand when pressure is reduced.
Cosmic dust or debris in the cabin cannot exist in the form of fluid, not to mention possessing the ability to expand without any external force. Third, the small objects were very bright relative to the background. This conforms to the total reflection characteristics of bubbles where air and water meet.
From these three points we can conclude that the extravehicular activity video was actually shot underwater. A person’s movement in water can cause an undercurrent which can explain why some of the small objects were flying up diagonally. People may ask why we didn’t see astronauts spit bubbles as divers would do in water. If you take a closer look at the video, you will find a power cord that connects the extravehicular spacesuit to the spacecraft.
A pipeline could be added inside the cord, removing evidence from the breath of air if the video was shot underwater.
Of course, some people may say that we clearly saw the astronauts flying weightlessly in the cabin and the space flight manual drifting in the air when it was let go, which should mean that they arrived at a zero gravity environment in outer space.
Now, let’s look at the video where the astronauts were inside the cabin. It’s possible that it was shot live. However, why didn’t the astronauts exit the cabin while they were in space? Well, this may be due to significant technical problems. But there is a greater possibility that the spacecraft went into space with no one inside and that the video of the interior was not shot live. No matter what the circumstances were, the spacewalk video couldn’t have been live.
I’d also like to clarify that you can experience zero gravity in places other than outer space. On the ground, a short-term weightless environment can be created in an aircraft.
When an aircraft flies in parabolic curve, during the downward arc the power of air resistance can be offset by the power of the engine’s velocity after it begins to dive from the highest point. This could create a micro-gravity environment for 15-40 seconds.
Examples of American small zero-gravity aircrafts include the T-33 and the ones modified from the F-104. The large ones are the KC-135 and PC-9, the ones converted from the Russian Doyle-76, which can create micro-gravity for 30 seconds. China has converted the FT-5 into a small zero-gravity aircraft.
Please check out this video that was posted on Sina, a popular Chinese website (http://video.sina.com.cn/news/c/v/2008-09-09/124021271.shtml ).
In the video, the Chinese astronauts were conducting weightless training in a zero gravity aircraft.
Video Discrepancy 4: Why Is There No Background Noise During the Space-talk?
Reporter: The noise problem you talked about was also mentioned by some people on the internet. The space talk was too clear. Has the noise problem been solved by current technology?
Qu Zheng: Everyone knows that there is no sound in space as there is no air. However a manned spacecraft is abnormally noisy. The noise level at the ISS is quite high, and as a result astronaut Bill McArthur and cosmonaut Valery Tokarev returned from their six-month stay aboard the ISS in April 2006 with some hearing loss.
Please watch the video:
This is a live broadcast of an astronaut installing the Japanese Experiment Module-Kibo Laboratory complex after Endeavour’s STS-127 arrived at ISS. If you listen carefully to the astronauts’ conversation, there is a lot of background noise. However no background noise was heard in the space-talk on Shenzhou VII between astronauts who returned to the spacecraft and Hu Jintao. (http://hd.cctv.com/special/C22204/20080927/107537.shtml )
Reporter: Is it because Chinese experts have solved the problem of background noise in the spacecraft?
Qu Zheng: No. An article titled “Experts Talk: Noise—Astronauts’ Fatal Killer” (http://news.eastday.com/eastday/node81741/node81762… ) quoted Yu Xuejun, research director of China’s Astronaut Center Environmental Media Research Office. He said, “A couple hundred machines are working nonstop on the Shenzhou VI Spacecraft, so astronauts have to suffer with the noise.” The Shenzhou VI Spacecraft can maintain a noise level of around 70 decibels during its flight in orbit, which is equivalent to the noise on a busy highway.
Sina.com also published an article on September 6, 2008 titled “Shenzhou VII Spacecraft Astronaut Are Equipped With Protective Earplugs.” (http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2008-09-26/194216364953.shtml ). The article described how dealing with noise interference and protecting the astronauts’ personal safety is a challenge for space agencies around the world. In order to protect against this loud noise, China’s Astronauts Training Center equipped three astronauts with special protective earplugs to reduce the noise. The same earplugs were used on the Shenzhou V and Shenzhou VI Spacecrafts.
If wearing a spacesuit and puting oneself in a vacuum environment can isolate noise (actually the air circulation in the helmet still has noise), how could these three astronauts talk to Hu with no background noise? They weren’t wearing helmets when they returned to the spacecraft and they used microphones connected to their earplugs, but there certainly would have been background noise delivered through the video camera. However, no noise was heard on the live video broadcast. In comparison, please see video of the Shenzhou V Spacecraft space-talk: http://video.sina.com.cn/news/c/v/2008-09-09/123021270.shtml .
On this video, as soon as the dialogue channel is connected, noise from the spacecraft can be heard over Cao Gangchuan’s speech.
The Fraud Is So Obvious
Reporter: The Shenzhou VII space mission launch is a huge project which involved people from different fields and even Chinese President Hu Jintao. If there is a mistake, the CCP will lose face in front of the whole world. Why would it dare to do such a thing?
Qu Zheng: Yes, it is abnormal to make such a big fraud for this large scale event. Someone may ask, how you can judge it as a fraud just based on your analysis? It is unbelievable. Also some loopholes like the air bubble issue are just too obvious. Can the people who made this be this stupid?
This is a question you have to ask the CCP. Although it seems like a joke, the CCP still hasn’t offered any explanation. In fact, it is a political problem. The answer lies within the realm of politics.
Indeed, I have met people who asked these kind of questions. They actually understand that my points are reasonable, but they cannot emotionally accept it. I have to emphasize that I didn’t say the launch and return of the spacecraft is a fraud. What I questioned is the live broadcast of astronauts walking out of the capsule.
Secondly, no matter how big of an event this was, if you believe in rationality and fact, you should leave emotional factors aside. Killers commit murders, the final conviction can be totally based on a couple drops of blood, a few hairs, or some fingerprints. As long as the evidence is confirmed and speculation is reasonable, a criminal can be judged adequately.
Besides, if the suspect has a past criminal record, this information assists the judge in his ruling. When the Shenzhou VII Spacecraft was still lying on the launch pad, the Xinhua News Agency’s website published an article describing the launch in vivid detail (See AP report: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/09/25/asia/AS-China-Space-Oops.php ), although it had not yet occurred. This premature article described how the tracking ship caught the spacecraft’s signal 11 seconds in advance. Later, they were forced to apologize to the public for the false information contained in their report. Isn’t this false news story a record of their deceptive fraud?