CZ-8 (Long March 8)
Long March 8, appears to have been radically redesigned since it was first described in 2017. It will have a vertically recoverable core first stage and boosters, CALT official Long Lehao said in June 2018. The Long March 8 would feature first stages and boosters that can be landed, recovered and reused following powered descent or parachute landing. Chinese state space industry group CASC saig in May 2018 it will develop a space launcher with a reusable first stage, basing the program on its forthcoming Long March 8.
The number 8 is the luckiest number in Chinese culture because it sounds like "fa", which means “wealth”, “fortune”, and “prosper” in Chinese. Multiples of eight are even better, as 88 bears a resemblance to shuang xi, or “double happiness”. While the Chinese will go to great lengths to avoid 4 in daily life, they will try to incorporate 8 wherever they can. In the Beijing summer Olympics, the opening ceremony began at 8:08 pm on 8/8/08. Since the number 8 is believed to bring good luck, many airlines in Chinese-speaking countries will use combinations of 8 as flight numbers. CALT originally intended Long March 8 as an expendable rocket designed for launching heavy payloads to Sun-Synchronous Orbits. The need to match SpaceX in reusability, a feature that massively decreases launch costs, forced China to evolve a new mission for Long March 8, however.
Plans for this rocket were presented by Long Lehao, chief designer of carrier rockets at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), during an April 24, 2018, space conference in Harbin, China. China aims to recover the first stage of the Long March-8 carrier rocket, which is still under development and is expected to make its maiden flight around 2021, according to a Chinese rocket expert.
It was part of China's endeavors to develop reusable space vehicles, Long Lehao, chief designer of carrier rockets at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, told a space conference in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. The Long March-8 rocket will have two stages and two boosters: the first stage and boosters are expected to be retrieved through vertical landing, said Long, who is also an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
If successful, the new rocket would provide commercial launch services to customers around the globe, Long said. "China's aerospace industry is making efforts to develop low-cost vehicles that can enter space rapidly to support future large-scale space exploration and promote a commercial space industry," Long said.
"As the current Long March 2, 3, 4 series rockets are fueled by toxic propellants, they cannot be recycled. But we are developing technologies to precisely control the fall of the rocket remains to ensure safety," Long said. That effort is important as residents in possible landing areas have to be evacuated at every launch. As China's aerospace activities become more frequent, with 36 launches planned in 2018, precise control of falling rocket remains could save a lot of trouble.
Long also introduced the development roadmap for China's space transportation system. Around 2025, reusable suborbital carriers will be successfully developed and suborbital space travel will be realized. Around 2030, rockets with two reusable stages will be developed. Around 2035, carrier rockets will be completely reusable which could realize the dream of space travel for ordinary people.
China will master rocket recycling technology on its new CZ-8 carrier rocket by 2020 and challenge the US monopoly in the field, China Media Group reported on 26 April 2018. A Chinese expert said that if the agenda can be realized on time, China will become the world's second rocket power to master the technology, offering the prospect of a reduction in cost for carrier rockets.
At an aerospace industry seminar on 25 April 2018, leading Chinese carrier rocket designer Long Lehao said that China is expected to realize vertical recycling - similar to the technology employed by US-based firm SpaceX - by 2020 at the earliest on its CZ-8 rockets. This will further lower the price tag of a launch and boost China's chances of getting international commercial satellite launch orders, the CCTV report said.
Lan Tianyi, founder of Beijing-based Ultimate Blue Nebula Co, a space industry consultancy, said China will become the second rocket power to have this capacity, putting the country ahead of Russia and the EU. However, Lan said that while the aim of recycling rockets is to reduce costs for launch operators, whether this can be achieved remains to be seen.
The recycled rockets developed by SpaceX are reported to have helped the company reduce launch costs by as much as 30 percent, according to media reports. "There is no way to verify SpaceX's claim, as it is the only company that owns the technology, and China has to wait for the moment when it has successfully recycled a rocket to see whether the costs can be lowered," Lan told the Global Times.
Yang Yuguang, a research fellow with the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, agreed. SpaceX claims that a reusable rocket just needs refueling and a few replacement parts before blasting off again, but it's not that simple, Yang said. "Even when the rocket is recycled, it needs to be checked, refurbished and serviced, and all this costs money," Yang said. "There is also the issue of how many times the rocket can be recycled, and whether that will be enough to bring down costs."
SpaceX had only conducted a few launches with used rockets and the company had not achieved profitability, Yang pointed out. "In the time period since the US has mastered the recycled rocket technology, there has not been much impact on China's orders," Lan said. "In fact, it is the US' pursuit of recycled space transport vehicles that has delayed the US rocket sector, and opened up a precious window for Europe's Ariane rockets and Chinese rockets to take off in the global commercial launch market," Yang told the Global Times.
According to Lan, compared with other countries that offer rocket launching technology, China enjoys a cost advantage and offers a one-stop solution for clients, including all the services and management procedures. Lan said clients for China's pure-launch service include South America countries, Canada, the Netherlands, Denmark and Poland while those for satellite plus launch services include Laos, Algeria, Nigeria, Bolivia, Venezuela and Belarus.
Long Lehao, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a chief designer at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, when delivering a speech in Tsinghua University 02 July 2018 the Long March-8, which is expected to make its maiden flight around 2021. It will have two stages and two boosters. The first stage and boosters are expected to be retrieved through vertical landing. A variant, the Long March-8A will be equipped with two larger boosters and an upper stage.
China's first reusable launch vehicle has received the designation "Long March 8 (CZ-8)." The first launch for this new rocket is set for 2021, said the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), the leading launch vehicle manufacturer in China. CALT said both the first stage and boosters of Long March 8 will attempt vertical landings. China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), which owns CALT, plans to have all of China's launch vehicles transition to reusability by 2035.
Long March 8 will combine the more suitable features of existing Long March rockets. It will have a 3.35-meter diameter core similar to that of Long March 7 (CZ-7). The Long March 8 second stage will have a diameter of three meters and will also be fueled by the liquid hydrogen-liquid oxygen mixture that powers Long March 3A (CZ-3A). Long March 8 will use two solid propellant boosters based on those deployed on Long March 11 (CZ-11).
China is planning to develop the next-generation CZ-8 (Long March 8) medium-lift carrier rocket and will conduct the first test flight by the end of 2018, Li Tongyu, the head of carrier rocket development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology said 27 February 2017. Li said use of the Long March 8 will extensively reduce the launch costs of low- and middle-orbit satellites, giving it bright prospects in the commercial launch market.
The core-stage of CZ-8 will be based on CZ-7 and CZ-3A (Long March 3A) carrier rockets, the CZ-8 is expected to have two solid-propelled boosters with a diameter of 6.5 feet, the representative added. "…if everything goes well, its maiden flight will take place by the end of 2018," Li said, as quoted by the China Daily newspaper.
The rocket will be able to deliver a payload of about 4.5 metric tons to a sun-synchronous orbit, or 2.5 tons to geosynchronous transfer orbit, according to Li. The China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, the parent company of the the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, is the leading space launch vehicle manufacturer in China.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (CAA) reported on the 26 September 2016 for the first time on a formal occasion, "Long March No. 8", and said it would speed up the implementation of Mars exploration. Long March 8 launch vehicle (English abbreviation: LM-8 or CZ-8) is a major carrier of the mainland launch satellite synchronous orbit satellite. The design of the launch vehicle will be based on the sun's long-range series of long-range solar synchronic orbit carrier rockets (such as the Long March 3).
National Defense Science and Technology Bureau Chief Engineer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration Secretary-General Tian Yulong said that the red belt, the current mainland space technology capacity has entered the ranks of the world's advanced.
This is the first time that the National Defense Science and Industry Bureau had mentioned "Long March 8" on a formal occasion. Previously, the CPPCC National Committee members, Aerospace Science and Technology Group China Launch Vehicle Technology Research Institute of the former party secretary Liang Xiaohong during the two sessions in 2015 revealed that as a new type of solar synchronous orbit rocket, Long March 8 was in the demonstration stage. Tian Yulong said that this year is China Aviation Planning Year, the National Defense Science and Technology Bureau will be completed to complete the "aerospace development" in the thirteenth five year plan for space science released in the 2016 "China's flight space" White paper, organized the completion of China's first "aerospace law" draft preparation work.
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