Lost in Space?

Sad (but not unexpected) news:

Chinese authorities will not allow the upcoming launch of the country’s first manned space flight to be broadcast live, state television sources and newspapers said.

“It won’t be broadcast live. The launching unit doesn’t want it to be broadcast live,” an official in the manager’s office of the state-run China Central Television Station’s Channel 9, an English channel, said Tuesday.

“It’s the same for all the CCTV channels,” said the official, who declined to be identified. “It’s been decided. This decision won’t change.”

The official added: “There will still be a broadcast, but it will be delayed. It will be broadcast as soon as possible.”

He said he could not comment on the government decision, but said his station had originally expected to show the history-making event live.

Fear of public disappointment and criticism if the mission fails could be the reason behind the decision, analysts say.


So what does it all mean?

Friday I wrote that

For reasons I can only guess at (and most of my guesses are a bit nasty), Beijing hasn’t yet said when the launch is set to lift off.

When I wrote that parenthetical phrase, I was thinking of an anecdote from the nonfiction story “‘Pravda‘ Means Truth” in Robert Heinlein’s Expanded Universe collection.

To paraphrase as briefly as possible, Mr. and Mrs. Heinlein visited Russia in the early ’60s. Unbeknownst to their Intourist hosts, Virginia spoke near-fluent Russian (and Robert, typically, had taught himself how to cuss properly). They were visiting before cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the earth


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