China sees rocket tech boost

Updated 2018-04-27 13:40:05

Nation in position to 'challenge U.S. monopoly'

China will master rocket recycling technology on its new CZ-8 carrier rocket by 2020 and challenge the U.S. monopoly in the field, China Media Group reported on Thursday.

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 Tuesday, leading Chinese carrier rocket designer Long Lehao said that China is expected to realize vertical recycling - similar to the technology employed by U.S.-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.

Price factor

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 on Thursday.

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."

So far, SpaceX has only conducted a few launches with used rockets and the company has not achieved profitability, Yang pointed out.

"In the time period since the U.S. has mastered the recycled rocket technology, there has not been much impact on China's orders," Lan said.

"In fact, it is the U.S.' pursuit of recycled space transport vehicles that has delayed the U.S. 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 on Thursday.

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.

Also in the News

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time
Showbiz2016/06/16 13:58March 22 2019 22:41:16

Nicole Kidman Recalls Oscar Glory: Loneliest Time

Attending Shanghai International Film Festival, Nicole Kidman talks about her role in "Grace of Monaco".

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts
Also in the News2014/05/01 12:16March 22 2019 22:41:16

Labor Day Travel Peak Starts

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'
Also in the News2014/04/18 13:18March 22 2019 22:41:16

Johnny Depp Delivers a Speech 'Evolve the Future' in 'Transcendence'

Hollywood star Johnny Depp's speech in the upcoming new film "Transcendence" has been disclosed on Friday, April 11th.

China World Business Sports Showbiz Audio
C4 My Chinese Life The Sound Stage China Revealed Showbiz Video Travel Video
China World Fun Travel Entertainment Sports
Beijing Shanghai Guangzhou
Live Music Opera & Classical Movies Traditional Shows Exhibitions
Learn Chinese:
Chinese Studio Living Chinese Everyday Chinese Just For Fun Chinese Culture Buzzwords