China Targets 2030 Long March 9 Super Heavy Rocket

China will try to make what looks like a copy of the SpaceX Super Heavy Starship but with some solid rocket motor side boosters. The maiden flight is scheduled by 2030. They will then try to make the CZ-9 reusable.

If China flies a super-heavy rocket and makes it fully and rapidly reusable then they might only be 10 years behind SpaceX.

China is targeting 140 tons of payload per launch.

The SpaceX Super Heavy Starship rendering is shown below. SpaceX has an initial goal of about 110 tons of payload to orbit.

SOURCES – Larry Teds, SpaceX
Written by Brian Wang,

41 thoughts on “China Targets 2030 Long March 9 Super Heavy Rocket”

  1. I am glad China is building this. They should do SeaDragon too—Truax’s design. Pressure feds don’t get enough attention

  2. Testing has been going on since 2018, but you keep believing what you want to believe. The only thing missing is the PR department of SpareX sophistication.

  3. This is how we do it.

    Are you saying China has not been known recently to block other countries from developing their resources, even in their own waters? That they do not hinge their development aid to other countries on how they vote in the UN? That they do not take resources from other countries with their 9-line and gray zone warfare against Taiwan and their neighbors in the South China Sea? With that track record, easily available to anyone who reads, I am not sure you have a point.

  4. ""Does anyone here believe that authoritarian CCP China, if they are the only
    or majority country with this capability, will use it responsibly with
    the altruistic goal of allowing all countries access to space without
    strings attached?"

    Come on, be serious….like the US wouldn't include any strings 🙂 like for example "we will send your mining ship into asteroid belt, but don't dig on the same small asteroid which we're currently mining"
    US, like any other country has groups of people with various interests and like any country will for sure take them into account before doing any type of deal with groups from other countries.

    I do not think there will be any major strings like for example"became a democracy" and we can do business. Russia was helping all those years US with sending people and stuff into space, I am sure that if Russia will need to send some giant telescope or something into space and won't have capability, US will help, but there will be "strings" like for example, US won't send any type of space weapon systems for Russia

  5. SpaceX is giving us an advantage that no other country can currently match. If we do not use it, we will eventually lose it. Once SpaceX gets Starship commercialized and we have our national goals met, we should probably allow him to provide services to our allies. Definitely the allies we allow to buy stealth fighters, or more broadly. The more countries in our orbit we have in space, the better for us, and the more secure access to space energy and resources will be for every country on the planet.
    Does anyone here believe that authoritarian CCP China, if they are the only or majority country with this capability, will use it responsibly with the altruistic goal of allowing all countries access to space without strings attached? Or refrain from actively denying access to space? I do not have much faith they won't draw a 9-line around near earth orbit if they think they can get away with it given the obvious advantages and leverage it provides.

  6. The early landing stabilizers were too weak and had to be strengthened and lengthened further away from the body of the ship. That tells me the landing diameter was too small and had to be widened. Still, there were other problems, mostly at the final few seconds, some marginal enough that a wider base might have helped.

  7. The landing failures had nothing to do with toppling over or blowing up on landing. The failures were due to some sort of failure in the rocket engines and/or the fuel supply to the engines. It seems you are writing about something you don't understand much at all.

  8. If you truly believe that the Starship tests failed miserably, you do not understand SpaceX's development process.

  9. My understanding is that landing a small diameter vehicle is only marginally harder than landing a large diameter vehicle. Imagine balancing a 1×20 inch pipe on your outstretched hand vs a 3×20 pipe. Both require precise motor control, feedback and coordination. Sure one is a little easier, but by the time you've built an avionics suite with all of the sensors, controllers, and processing power to handle the easier task, you could refine the algorithms a bit more to handle the optimum shape thereby gaining significant payload performance.

  10. A rocket is mostly designed to leave earth.
    After that, there is no drag at all, so it doesn't matter what shape it is. Thick, thin, rectangular. In space, you could have it pancake shape if you want (Startrek?).

    Once we have industrial manufacturing in space, one could indeed imagine to make interplanetary spaceships in-space that don't have the purpose to de-orbit, forever staying in space. People and goods would transfer to these ships once in orbit.
    Due to zero-gravity and zero-drag, these ships could be much more comfortable in size and room for the passengers.
    But this is a very, very long way off (50 years+) to being practical or economical.

  11. Or, the US government could stop interfering with private enterprise that wants do do it's own research. For instance, Stephen Boyd wants do do research on thorium molten salt reactors, but is stymied by the NRC acting at the behest of the legacy nuclear industry that would be unseated by safer, faster, better, cheaper technologies. Here's a video interview of Dr Boyd discussing his research, and asking the question "What are we waiting for?"

  12. Kerbal looking rockets are a sign of a rocket that was pieced together rather than designed from the ground up. That's why this and SLS look the same- they are pieced together from leftovers.

  13. Most of that propellant is used up getting it out of the atmosphere and up to orbital velocity. At that point it’s halfway to anywhere in the Solar system. 

    The numbers make it inherently difficult to carry much more propellant than it takes to just get into orbit – whatever you do. That’s why in orbit propellant transfer (multiple times) is so critical to Starship outperforming all the old designs. It can move vastly more mass to the moon or Mars because it doesn’t try to carry all the propellant in one launch.

  14. In iterative development, it’s a lot easier to just stretch the tanks to carry more propellant keeping everything else the same once you got it working. SpaceX started with a comparatively squat test version and scaled up by adding rings to the tanks to max out propellant load. Reusable rockets don’t have much margin to get useful payload to orbit and need to carry maximum propellant/weight. This is also why they don’t work at a smaller scale.

  15. It has not get into orbit, not to mention carry any payload.
    Call that a launch? It’s just a test and failed miserably.

  16. By not having anything when the other system has launched and flown successfully several times. It just hasn’t landed successfully yet. Developing Raptors to this point took many years and they’re the essence of the design.

  17. CZ9 was mooted long before SpaceX Starship, so who is copying who?
    And how can it be ten years behind something that has not yet launched successfully?

  18. Yes, but how much of a factor is drag on missions that are A) mostly in space between the Moon or Mars and Earth, and B) mostly constrained by high fuel loads and weight, not by relatively small impediments like drag?
    What is important for small, light rockets, going short distance to the ISS or launching a satellite, may not be important in a large, fuel-laden rocket going hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of miles from Earth.

  19. Rocket drag depends on shape of the nosecone & diameter of the rocket.
    Thicker rocket means more air needs to be pushed to the side / out of the way.

    The best way to reduce drag is to make a very thin rocket.

    (This is also the reason why girth matters).

  20. I don't understand why rockets aren't made wider. This could enable more fuel to be carried while also making them easier to land. One only has to worry about aerodynamics when there's actual air, and for the long hauls and super heavies, that's a small fraction of their interplanetary missions. SpaceX at least, is having too many failures to stick the landings – rockets toppling over, or blowing up on landing – for there ever to be trust with a live crew.

  21. Well. NASA only has experience with refurbishing boosters that were bathed in the ocean. Seawater creates for a refurbishing nightmare. If they stick the landing however, they remain much closer to pristine, and can be refilled with rocket-goo ;à.

  22. Well. SRB's are less complex and less costly, so they are trying to aim for the best of both worlds. The throttling remark of Asteroza seems to be right on the money. That said, a larger diameter might have meant some aerodynamic losses due to a less optimal rocket fineness ration. I am sure their choice fell out of the math. I would do what you suggest, ignore the aerodynamic losses, and know that it will be easier to optimize, integrate, and get costs down if you stick with it long duration.

  23. Am I missing something? You can't refuel SRBs quickly by pumping fuel into them. Even if they keep the SRBs attached when landing the booster, they are going to have to remove the now empty SRBs and attach fresh SRBs. Maybe they can pack a new load of fuel into the used SRBs and use them again later, but that sure isn't what I'd call full reuse, or at least not quick turn around reuse.

  24. If they jettison the SRB's, they're not going to be terribly reusable. Maybe refurbishable, at best. So it's the right choice for full reusability.

    Though you'd think they'd just make a larger diameter booster and stack more engines on the bottom.

  25. You paint that like it's some kind of monumental backfire.

    But all I'm hearing is that America's pre-Trump relationship with China wasn't working to anyone's long term benefit — including China's. ;-P

  26. What's really weird about the config is the SRB's are attached to the booster stage for launch, yet the booster stage lands with the SRB's still attached. Which means the booster will be stupid heavy at landing. They seemed to want to avoid doing a copy of Falcon 9 Heavy in the three stick configuration, using a common booster core for some reason. It's going to make their life harder to pull off the landing.

    One possible reason behind it could be a lack of wide throttle range for the liquid rocket engines on the booster for deep throttling, meaning their landing burn is too powerful for just a booster, so sandbagging it with the heavy SRB casings happens to work out…

  27. they will have it wayyy faster, don't take those dates seriously. Also, because of Trump bans, sanctions on China's tech, they've realised that they can't rely on US and West in general and must become self sufficient in core tech faster. Therefore we will see China 2023 instead of China 2025. Trump decisions accelerated China's rise, which is I guess good for the world as a whole but not that good for US, because US will have less time to do whatever US wants to do, to be leader in tech longer. On China's forums they call him comrade Trump, because he wake them up faster and accelerated rate of progress significantly 🙂

    If US care to be leader in science and tech, US needs to increase funding for R&D as a % of GDP from current round 3% to at least 5%. Gov needs to start funding tech, science, various Moonshots like madman

  28. If they say, they will built it in 2030, it means they will have it in few years. This program is already advanced. 2030 is so far away in tech standards and progress speed that current rocket tech will be ancient and irrelevant by then.
    China's projections are always extremely conservative. They do it, probably to not alarm competitors.

  29. On that schedule, by the time they get it flying, SpaceX will be routinely lofting payloads 3-4 times heavier, and may have moved on to newer launch technologies.

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