China is planning a next-generation Crew Launch Vehicle for missions to its space station and the moon to have a reusable first stage.
The new rocket will allow for a reusable launch option to send astronauts or cargo to New China Tiangong space stationwhile the larger version would allow China to send crew on missions to the moon and into deep space.
It will also be able to carry a new spacecraft that is larger than the Shenzhou spacecraft it is currently using China National Space Administration for manned missions, according to To the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), the country’s main aerospace contractor.
The missile is currently called the cumbersome placeholder “New Generation Manned Launch Vehicle”. After completing the launch role, the first stage will restart its engines to help it slow, using grille fins for steering, much like the flagship Falcon 9 The missiles fired SpaceX.
However, the landing stage will include “tethered landing gear” according to Wang Xiaojun, president of the Chinese Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), a CASC subsidiary that develops the rocket, on February 17 It happened Organized by the International Astronautical Federation, the China Astronautical Society and CALT. Instead of using the landing legs, the landing rocket stage will carry hooks and will be suspended by narrow wires.
CASC has not revealed when the missile will be ready, but Recently released China space White papers It set the main tasks for the next five years (2021-2025), which included the first launch of the new crew launch vehicle.
China is currently launching its manned missions with the Long March 2F expendable missile, which also uses a toxic and therefore dangerous and expensive substance to manage a hyperactive thruster.
The new rocket will use RP-1 refined kerosene fuel and liquid oxygen, based on the engines developed for China’s new Long March 5, 6, 7 and 8 rockets. It will come in two variants: a two-stage version to send astronauts to the Chinese space station and a three-stage version with two side boosters for deep space missions.
The smaller version will be able to launch about 30,800 lb (14,000 kg) into low Earth orbit when the first stage is restored, which will allow it to carry The new generation of spacecraft that had a uninhabited test trip In 2021. It can carry (18000 kg) when the first stage runs out.
The larger version will be able to launch 59,500 lb (27,000 kg) into lunar transfer orbit. This means that a larger, heavier version of the new crewed spacecraft, optimized for lunar and deep space missions, can be launched. Long Lehao, a veteran Long March rocket designer, said at CALT, in June 2021, that the rocket’s two launches could be used for a short-range manned lunar landing mission. space news.
China does not yet have a reusable missile, which means it has a number of technological breakthroughs to achieve first.
However, CASC stated that it aims to convert a file long walk 8 The first stage is reusable, while a number of commercial launchers have them Land areaiSpace, Galactic Energy, Deep Blue Aerospace and others are working on vertical take-off and vertical landing rocket concepts.
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