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Shuttle - Space Launch Vehicle

China is known to have begun studies of fully reusable, two-stage-to-orbit space transportation systems similar to the German Sanger concept. The PRC began conducting detailed engineering studies in this area in the early 1980s, but available resources did not permit a commitment to begin development (References 159, 193-194).

China was still working on its own reusable rocket technologies, a source close to the research told Xinhua 21 April 2016. Chinese experts had built a prototype model to test theories on the reusable rocket booster's landing subsystems. They have completed "experimental verifications" using "multiple parachutes" supposedly attached to the booster, a source with China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technologies (CALT), developer of China's Long March rocket series, said.

"The experiment has laid solid foundation for the realization of reusable rockets in the country," the source said. Ma Zhibin, deputy director of CALT's aerospace department also confirmed to Xinhua in a separate interview that Chinese scientists are working on reusable rockets.

"There is of course more than one way to do this ... I believe we could see some serious results during the 13th Five-Year Plan period," he said, referring to the five years between 2016 and 2020. Still, Ma said it could take a considerably longer time before reusable launch vehicles could replace the current expendable rockets for good.

863-204 Shuttle Program

In 1986, to meet the global challenges of new technology revolution and competition, four Chinese scientists, WANG Daheng, WANG Ganchang, YANG Jiachi, and CHEN Fangyun, jointly proposed to accelerate China’s high-tech development. With strategic vision and resolution, the late Chinese leader Mr. DENG Xiaoping personally approved the National High-tech R&D Program, namely the 863 Program (a reference to the date that it was founded, March of 1986).

Implemented during three successive Five-year Plans, the program has boosted China’s overall high-tech development, R&D capacity, socio-economic development, and national security. In April 2001, the Chinese State Council approved continued implementation of the program in the 10th Five-year Plan. As one of the national S&T program trilogy in the 10th Five-year Plan, 863 Program continues to play its important role.

In the "863 Program" high-tech Research and Development Program, Space technology is the second field of the seven areas. The thematic programs were large rockets and space shuttles transport systems, manned space station systems and their applications. After the introduction of "863", the aerospace field set up two expert groups, one large carrier rockets and space shuttles transport system, code 863-204; two manned space station systems and their applications, code 863-205.

In 1987, in the original National Defense of the organization, formed a "Committee of Experts on Space Technology 863" and the theme project expert group for the development of China's manned space technology in general programs and specific ways to conduct a comprehensive demonstration.

The "863-204" Expert Group in April 1987 issued a report "on the large rockets and space shuttles transport system concept and feasibility study," the tender notice, in order to select the tender have an advantage in technology unit, according to the respective requirements argumentation manned space program. Department of Space, Aviation Department, the State Education Commission, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the General Staff, National Defense and more than 60 other research institutes took part in this big discussion.

In less than two months time, the bidding units presented 11 kinds of technical solutions. "863-204" experts selected six kinds of programs, ask them before the end of June 1988, the completion of technical feasibility report in order to participate in high-level expert assessment.

Option One: the five branches of the Department of Space 508's manned spacecraft program. This program does not look so fashionable, it seems somewhat out of date. It is a rocket launch the spacecraft, the spacecraft landed by a fixed return, similar to the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft used. Argument held that the spacecraft is an economic, technical difficulty is not great transporter, in time, to ensure the early 2000s and put into use, will not break on the funds invested by 2000 the total national dish. According to China's national conditions, in a very long time scale of space transportation will not be great, the use of disposable spacecraft investment benefit ratio than the reusable space shuttle better. Spacecraft for the space station and space shuttle technology Pathfinder, but also as a space station after the completion of the lifeboats, even the space shuttle, space plane was successfully developed, the spacecraft can match its size, become a useful supplement.

Option Two: Department of Space, an institute proposed one small space shuttle program. It is with the Great Wall of the 1st space shuttle program three close, the difference is orbiter without active force, using its own structure when returning gliding landing. One rocket into orbit with manned cargo, can be partially reused, the development cycle of 15 years, it was the world of aviation technology development and the strength of the country is ready to develop the transport device. EU led by France set the strength of a dozen countries in Europe, were joint researching Hermes small spacecraft, such as the prototype aircraft to the US space shuttle, shrinkage ratio of 1/6 developed. China such as the completion of this program, you can develop space planes and rockets aircraft solve many technical problems.

Option Three: Department of Space, Shanghai Aerospace Bureau together with the aviation ministry proposed a Large Space Shuttle program. It vertical takeoff, horizontal landing, partially reusable orbiter with active force can be autonomous flight. This program is based on fundamental basis of our existing large rockets, although some technical risk, but not impossible to solve, can be expected to test flight in 2008.

Option Four: Department of Space, Beijing rocket plane two programs. It took off like a rocket vertically, the same level as aircraft landing rocket engine-powered, fully reusable. This solution has both high altitude aircraft, new technology, have a new hydrogen, oxygen, hydrocarbon rocket engine technology, it requires two primary types out first, after the engaging portion of the most important orbiter, and then engage the full-size rocket plane, the time Progress is also in 2015.

Program five: Aviation Department 601 proposed H-2 space plane program. It can be like a plane horizontal takeoff and landing, using a combination aspirated turbojet engine, fully reusable. This is a set of aviation and aerospace technology for the integration of high-tech solutions are more technical difficulties, especially in combination turbojet engine aspirated foreign countries is also an attack failed in the storm, the British had been raised such programs, and later give up, so there is no useful experience. But it is consistent aim at the world forefront of strategic thinking, once in 2015 can be successful, then the country's aerospace technology one step world advanced level, or significantly reduce the distance with the world advanced level.

Program Six: 611 aviation department was studying a small space shuttle Hermes comprehensive analysis demonstrated that the French side of the shuttle to engage the political, economic, technical background and China have similarities, the overall technology and aerospace Department of a hospital a proposed small space shuttle program is similar to the space shuttle program in all the most labor-saving, time-saving solution. 611 was being carried out with foreign aviation technology cooperation, can be related introduction of foreign technology.

After a year of demonstration, the Committee of Experts in July 1988 was held in Harbin council. Space experts selected five programs in depth demonstration and comparative analysis, namely, spaceship, without active propulsion, small space shuttle, space shuttle with the active propulsion, two rocket plane and the space plane. July 20, 1988 to 31, brings together hundreds of experts in aerospace, Harbin, according to the five kinds of program theme of the report, discuss and decide on the final "model."

Experts dominant opinion was the space shuttle and rocket aircraft although space shuttles transport system of the future possible direction of development, but China does not yet have the appropriate technical foundation and investment, yet not as the 21st century tracking targets; with main powered shuttle to solve reusable rocket engine problems, the difficulty is relatively large; for further studies comparing the multipurpose spacecraft program and without active force small space shuttle program.

After careful consideration of the material, the "model" of the dispute and finally concentrated to two schemes: one of the original eight Aerospace Institute under the Ministry of Shanghai and Beijing Institute submitted a "Great One" Space Shuttle program, two of the five branches in Beijing Submit spacecraft program. In the expert assessment sheet, the two programs are very close to scoring, the former is 83.69 points, which is 84 points. Since then, China's manned spacecraft demonstration program staff and personnel shuttle demonstration started up to three years of academic debate.

Since then, "863-204" Expert Group in July 1989 completed a "large rockets and space shuttles transport system feasibility and concept studies comprehensive report." Report made by the beginner to advanced two-step approach:

First - step, make full use of retrievable satellite recovery technology, with less funding and a shorter period (around 2000) developed the early space shuttles transport system - multipurpose spacecraft, making China's manned space breakthrough as soon as possible technology to solve any problems and meet the initial requirements for space applications.

The second step, around 2015 developed advanced and economical space shuttles transport system - two level space planes taking off and landing, large-scale systems to accommodate future development needs of the space station.

In 1989 August National Space Leading Group Office of Rending Heng Gao received the Department of Aerospace Rocket Technology Research Institute, wrote a group of high-tech demonstration of a letter's main point was "Space Shuttle program" significantly better "than multipurpose spacecraft program."

Mentioned in the letter: manned spacecraft as a means of transportation between heaven and earth has been in recession, reusable space shuttle, on behalf of the international space development trend, China's manned space there should be a starting point. Engage in a spaceship to make a throw, not only can not glory, but also to discredit the country.

The manned spacecraft program demonstration group that can take astronauts manned spacecraft, but also to transport supplies to the station, but also as a space station orbits the lifeboat, and the funding is low, more in line with China's national conditions. Cost or whether the space shuttle and launch construction maintenance costs are quite expensive, China at this time do not have the space shuttle production process conditions. In 1989, the Department of Aerospace party specially commissioned Zhuang Fenggan, Sun Jiadong two experts chaired a small space shuttle spacecraft and compare demonstration.

For comparison argumentation, Europe was in the development of small spacecraft with aviation technology, while China National Aero-Technology does not have the advantage. European small space shuttle this road has not been completed, and technical risk, investment risk, long development cycle had exposed the shortcomings. "" American money, they have four space shuttles, the light came back per aircraft overhaul is necessary to six months, the U.S. space shuttle flight once you have 400,000,000 500,000,000 dollars; Russia also has three space shuttles, including a flying time, another plane is ready to fly, there is a test used to do because of money, but now they can not afford to fly. ESA developed the 'He Seoul Hermes number 'small space shuttle program is also constant changes, the progress procrastination, funding a plus plus, allies do not want to do, and finally had to dismount.

At the time, many people support the Space Shuttle program, but considering its own technological base and economic capacity after May 1990, "863-2" expert committee finalized the "small investment, the risk is small, grasp bigger "spaceship program, namely the use of our existing Long March 2E rocket launch single-use spacecraft, as the first step in China's manned space break; in 2010 or later built a large manned space station systems.

In 1991 the Chinese Society of Astronautics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, the State Council Development Research Center, jointly organized the "Chinese aerospace tech report." This is the promotion of China's manned space engineering decisions at a meeting of a watershed.

Day of the meeting, Vice Minister Liu Jiyuan research headquarters in Inner Mongolia just returned to Beijing. The train station, he planned on Aerospace Division Chief Engineer Zhang significant, said: "to the venue, the first not to leave to attend the meeting, you Huibu authorities to put us to write" on the development of China's manned space technology proposals. " is taken to seal, gave the Second Artillery Corps deputy chief of staff to attend the meeting before Su Ming comrades, what would not say. "Zhang were sealed in brown paper will document pockets in front to give Li Ming, only said:" This is my Vice Minister Liu give you. "" You told Liu, deputy minister, I will send. "Su Ming before answering.

Zhang were clearly remember, in the "About development of China's manned space technology proposals", the Special wrote: not on the manned space flight, a political decision, not a pure science and technology issues, not technology, workers can set. The development of China's aerospace industry, faced with the older generation of proletarian revolutionaries leadership created hard-earned international status have lost aerospace danger. Urge the central decision as soon as possible.

November 1990 by the State Council Development Research Center under the International Technology and Economy Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics strategic research group, after four years to complete the series of China's manned space development strategy research report "China's manned space development strategy" (series of research reports), presented to the Politburo and Premier Li Peng. "Report" presents China's manned space "can not engage, not vigorously, the spacecraft started, stable development of" strategic thinking.

March 14, 1991, the Department of Aerospace Senior Technical Advisor Ren Xinmin State Secretary of the Board received a phone call: Chinese Premier Li Peng at 15:00 on March 15 from 5:00 to invite see Ren Xinmin comrades, but also to listen to understand the situation of the spacecraft Comrade report.

Premier Li Peng said frankly, today we hear a case concerning aspects of manned spacecraft.

Ren Xinmin first analyzed why China started from the multipurpose spacecraft. He said: "Our country already has developed the technical foundation and development of the spacecraft conditions of astronauts environmental control and life support technology, there are certain pre-study basis. Rocket reliability technology, adopt measures to improve in the return heat technology, existing thermal protection materials research and recoverable satellites experience to draw on. operational returns control technology, communications satellites and missile control technology as the foundation of computer integrated management technology, China has more than one computer can use the redundancy technology, the spacecraft control, which is also needed to master engineering development As the spacecraft ascent emergency rescue techniques, this past is not engaged, you need to research ways to find a solution. "

Manned space project team leader Qian Zhen Ye said: "China's manned spacecraft can use as a carrier rocket Long March II, through improved reliability improvements after the launch of the spacecraft ......"

Early April 1991, the Department of Aerospace Northern Ontario in Beijing held a seminar jointly manned spaceflight research group demonstrated in three months time to complete the "manned spacecraft project implementation plan." Discussion by the Department of Aerospace Technology deputy director, chief expert of aerodynamics Zhuang Fenggan chair.

Zhuang Fenggan recalls: "The meeting called China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, Chinese Academy of Space Technology and Shanghai Aerospace Bureau three overall unit, in-depth feasibility studies, further proposed the implementation of their respective programs in order to select the best. Six months later, three overall unit respectively submitted a "manned spacecraft project feasibility report." I remember, China Academy of Space Technology Green Paper on the completion of the demonstration 0.3 meters thick. "

From May onwards, the Department of Aerospace invited several batches of Russian space experts to give lectures, focusing on Russia in the development of manned space flight, especially development of the "Soyuz" spacecraft aspects of technology and experience, and sent 20 young technical personnel to Russia to learn two years.

June, "863-2 'Expert Commission formally proposed" on the development of China's manned space views. "Main contents are:" 863 Program "of the overall field of space technology development blueprint, development policy, development strategy, mission objectives, and three stages of conception; manned spacecraft engineering tasks and seven of the four systems; project development funding, schedule, and on the organization and implementation of the recommendations.

Shenlong transatmospheric vehicle

Tengyun Two-stage-to-orbit (TSTO)




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