China’s Long March 6 (CZ-6) carrier rocket was set to be launched in Taiyuan, in North China’s Shanxi Province on Saturday, sending 20 small satellites into space. It appears the launch may have been postphoned
Designed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, developer of the Shenzhou VII spacecraft, the CZ-6 is a non-toxic and pollution-free rocket which features a number of next-generation technologies, including a liquid oxygen kerosene engine.
The rocket was developed in China at low cost, high reliability, strong adaptability and good safety.
Another rocket, the Long March 11 carrier rocket (CZ-11) is expected to be launched in Jiuquan, in Northwest China’s Gansu Province on September 25, carrying three satellites.
The CZ-11 is the first solid launch vehicle designed by the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, and takes mere hours to launch in comparison to other rockets which usually take months to prepare.
China outlined its five-year space mission in 2011. Among the items outlined are the launch of manned spaceships, next-generation rockets and the use of cleaner fuel, all of which are expected to help the country realize its goal of building a space station by 2020.
Two more rockets, the Long March-5 and Long March-7, will be launched in 2016.
The LM-7, along with the lighter Long March 6 and heavier Long March 5, will act as China’s next generation of space launch vehicles
The LM-7 is a mid-heavy weight, 600 ton launch rocket, similar to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It is likely to replace the man-rated Long March 2 rocket, which is currently used to launch China’s manned Shenzhou space missions. However, the LM-7 is estimated to carry 13.5 tons (depending on booster rocket configuration) of cargo in low earth orbit, which is a 50% increase over the LM-2.
The testing LM-7 space launch rocket its attached to the erector pad at Wenchang, China.
China developed the YF-100 engine based on the Russian RD-120. Staged combustion is also used for the 18-ton-thrust kerosene second-stage engine of the Long March 7.
China has used help from Ukraine to develop the engines.
Still, with a thrust of 120 metric tons (260,000 lb.), the YF-100 is not a very large engine. Engineers of China’s Academy of Aerospace Propulsion Technology—Li Ping, Li Bin and Yu Zou—emphasized in a paper published last year that China was still behind in space propulsion. Their proposal, probably representing official thinking, is to develop the largest kerosene-oxygen rocket that China could use commercially—with up to three times the thrust of the YF-100—and then give it double combustion chambers to create an engine twice as large again. This, it appears, is China’s path to propulsion for a Moon rocket.
SOURCES – Wikipedia, Popular Science, ECNS
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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