China's Space Program News Thread


SEAD

Junior Member
Registered Member
Besides, if your assertion is that China always does things boldly, then it's succeeded with that strategy. Why would it fail now with this engine?
Perhaps because somebody in CASC are stupid?
“火箭回收之前,航天飞船的回收实验也进行过多次,理论上可以降低费用75%,但最终都以失败告终。”龙乐豪坦言,SpaceX公司是一家企业,这类实验虽然对火箭事业有一定的贡献,但个人认为有炒作之嫌。
“对于此次实验的成功我们一定要重视,但不要反应过度。”龙乐豪说。(4/11/2016)
I must say Chinese civilian rockets development is nothing but garbage since 2000, especially comparing with their other military industries. It’s the only field they competing with India rather than US lol. I believe it mostly due to some idiot leaderships.
 
Last edited:

siegecrossbow

Lieutenant General
Staff member
Super Moderator
Perhaps because somebody in CASC are stupid?

I must say Chinese civilian rockets development is nothing but garbage since 2000, especially comparing with their other military industries. It’s the only field they competing with India rather than US lol. I believe it mostly due to some idiot leaderships.

Smartest rocket engineers in China only want to work with CNSA because private firms don’t have stable investment. Situation is reversed in the US.
 

SEAD

Junior Member
Registered Member
Smartest rocket engineers in China only want to work with CNSA because private firms don’t have stable investment. Situation is reversed in the US.
Engineers are definitely smart, but the result can still be a disaster with idiot leaders. That’s exactly what happened.
 

Surpluswarrior

New Member
VIP Professional
Maybe you should ask yourself another question:

If the US was developing their rockets conservatively in the 1960s, would it win the race to the moon with the Soviet Union?
The U.S. was developing some of its main technology conservatively in the 1960s, particularly the vehicles central to the moon mission.

The Saturn V was a conservative and outdated design when they started building it. It was basically 1950s concepts.

So was the Apollo capsule itself. It was more of an enlarged Mercury than the Gemini was.


Some central characteristics of the Apollo spacecraft were solidified near the beginning of the lunar program, in the early 1960s. It was less of a 'pilot's spacecraft' than Gemini was. Gemini was seen as a stepping stone, and open to more experimentation, so it had a more efficient orbital module [SM?] than Mercury + Apollo and better cockpit. Because it was more allowed to take advantage of 1960s design concepts than Apollo was.

Apollo/Saturn was so big and expensive that once the design was largely settled upon, they had to work at it for a long time, getting those big engines ready for Saturn V and so on. Saturn V was a logistical nightmare. It required a standing army of personnel. And to prepare one for launch involved getting a lot of mechanisms ready that had hard limits on how fast it could be prepared.

Something like Soyuz was more revolutionary, more advanced in concept than Apollo. Soyuz only brought as much crewed [i.e. more expensive] weight as was needed into orbit, with the orbit-only components having lower weight as they didn't need re-entry shielding. So the only heavy, shielded part was the crew capsule, which detached from the other 2 parts. Soyuz had a higher ratio of usable crewed space to Apollo, IIRC.

Getting Soyuz ready, with its more advanced design [albeit lacking lunar-capable heat-shield] took a long time, loss of crew as it was rushed into service without sufficient testing and preparation. Helped them lose the moon race.

Meanwhile, Apollo, which would have been comprehensible to a design school of 1959, won the race. The story goes, the designer who sold Apollo to NASA had been told "if you want to get picked by NASA, just give them a big Mercury." Which is what he did. Because Mercury worked, and NASA wanted something that would fly 100%. Even if it was outdated.

The primary reason NASA won the moon race, aside from greater funding, was the more consistent political direction and support from the highest levels, as opposed to squabbling design bureaus in the USSR. NASA also created consistent operational procedures to minimize risk, whereas Soviet program was more like an experimental artillery test range. Ironically, US won because it implemented central planning better than USSR at the time.
 

gelgoog

Colonel
Registered Member
I would not say the Saturn V engines were outdated. They were more advanced in some ways and less in others than the Russian engines in the N-1 or the Proton. US engines were less advanced in that the US did not get staged combustion to work back then, but more advanced in that the US got LOX/Hydrogen to work and they could make rockets with larger nozzles. The Soviets back then never solved the combustion instability issue with large rocket engines.

The Soviet lunar program was doomed because the Soviet government only provided funding for it late, most investment went into the military rockets. The Proton (UR-500) was originally part of the UR family of rockets. The Soyuz used to be the R-7 military ICBM. The US also started with converted military rockets, but the Saturn V was purely designed for the lunar mission. And you know what, the US spent a huge amount of money in the program and none of that technology got used for anything else since. Well with the exception of the RL-10 engine. In Russia even the Proton only stopped being manufactured like last year, and the R-7 is still being manufactured. The N-1 never worked properly, but the engines are now being used in the Soyuz 2.1v.

So you could say the Saturn V and the whole US lunar program might have been a huge propaganda win but provided close to ZERO lasting economic benefit. And it is typical of the US, to lose first satellite, first animal in space, first man in space, first spacewalk, first orbiting station, first multiple man mission, first long duration mission, first robotic landing on the Moon, first lunar soil sample return, etc, make a huge splash win at something, first man on the Moon, then pull out and declare a win.

As for launch reliability, most launch failures with rockets typically happen when the rocket is entering service, or when the design is changed. So the fact Falcon 9 has more successful launch percentage than Long March 5 isn't that impressive really.
 
Last edited:

Surpluswarrior

New Member
VIP Professional
Okay, but I'm not saying that the Saturn V engines were outdated. Just that the overall design of Saturn and Apollo, at the conceptual level, was conservative.

They implemented all the systems as fast as they possibly could, many engineers burned out their marriages over Apollo. I just mean that they weren't trying to be as revolutionary as possible in the design, just some of the systems.

I guess what I'm saying is that NASA decided what they were going to do, received the proper funding, and then went ahead and did it. They were cautious [at least after the fire] and consistent. They stuck to the plan. They developed a world-class operations methodology.

I agree that the Saturn architecture did not provide much use to America after Apollo was cancelled. There are many alternative fictions now exploring what might have happened if there was no Shuttle program, and the money was used to keep Apollo flying. Certainly, if they had continued Apollo, making it cheaper and more sustainable, it would have been much, much easier to return to the moon at a later time.

Shuttle was a boondoggle and it eventually had to be axed too, as reusability and affordability were never taken seriously, with both Apollo and Shuttle.

Soyuz demonstrates the value in keeping an architecture going, updating it as you go along. If Russia had to develop Soyuz from scratch in 1993, it would have been unfeasable. But they updated the older design and it performed as an affordable and reliable system.

[Maybe something like this could have happened with Gemini if it had been continued. Look up Big Gemini and Winged Gemini. Could have been much cheaper and more practical than Shuttle for LEO.]

Just as political decisions allowed the 1960s NASA programs to succeed, they also killed it and much of the legacy after Nixon et al cut so much of it.

I understand we are discussing this in the context of China. I wouldn't transpose any lessons from the Soviet or US programs directly onto China. It is not in a breakneck race, and wisely so. I think China is using what it has in an efficient and rational manner, while simultaneously developing the next-generation and a few bleeding-edge/blue sky systems. That appears to be a good course of action. China's political system can sustain a long-term plan much better than the US can at present.
 

taxiya

Brigadier
Registered Member
Did you mean you were not among these 99.9% people and you had some DIRECT KNOWLEDGE of what is going on?

If this was the truth, then you might have talked too much. ;)
I don't have direct knowledge, neither do I have those irrational concerns (doubt and being pessimistic without necessary knowledge).

You don't need to know something from inside to be NOT pessimistic. Being pessimistic without knowledge is irrational. It is essentially about confidence to the people and their track record.
 
Last edited:

Quickie

Major
Sure, I just want to see somebody more angry :p

I think it’s fair because both of them got contract in 2006 (‘立项’ for LM-5 and ‘commercial orbital transportation service’ contract for Falcon-9) and their practical LEO capacities (although F9 is reusable, it can also be used as a disposable one) are similar.

Still too few launches for LM-5. 2 of Falcon 9 failures also happened in the 10 or so earlier versions of F-9.


."....their practical LEO capacities (although F9 is reusable, it can also be used as a disposable one) are similar. .... "

It is what payloads that were actually launched that count. F-9 FT Expended has a claimed max payload of 22.8 tons but I don't recall it launching anything more than 20 tons. And, for that matter, not even Falcon Heavy has launched anything more than 20 tons.

Furthermore, most of the F-9 launches are for reusable missions which are much lighter than the actual launched payloads of LM-5 which are really for heavy Space Station main modules.
 

ougoah

Brigadier
Registered Member
China's private space industry truly is unimpressive at the moment. Indeed the best and brightest go to CNSA and work for the state run space organisations (CASC, CASIC, CALT, CAST, and whatever other state run groups exist as major players in the field).

The US wants to make use of market forces to innovate their space industry. It worked with SpaceX but the barn silo project is a pretty crazy one. Maybe they can make it work, maybe not.

I don't know why China bothers with private sector. I'm not familiar with their projects but there are about 10 major Chinese private companies and half of them are state affiliated and use old modified LM rockets or DF rockets. A few seemingly doing interesting stuff but all of it resemble SpaceX of early days but stuck doing not much except burn investor funds. They need to be competitive against China's own gov space org and contractors but half of them use gov contractors for engines, rockets and whatnot.
 

huemens

Junior Member
Registered Member
and their practical LEO capacities (although F9 is reusable, it can also be used as a disposable one) are similar.

You probably mean theoretical LEO capability rather than practical. Even if we compare theoretical mass to orbit CZ-5 is more capable. CZ-5: 25t to LEO, 14t to GTO. F9 Expended: 22.8t to LEO, 8.3t to GTO. That translates to 9.65% more mass to LEO and 68.67% more mass to GTO for CZ-5 compared to F9 Expended.

But in "practical" terms that margin is actually bigger for LEO payloads due the smaller payload fairing of F9. F9 and FH both use the same payload fairing, which is much smaller then CZ-5's fairing, even smaller than Delta IV's. So a realistic payload with a mass of 22.8t would not fit into it. They have an extended payload fairing under development, which is still going to be smaller than CZ-5's.

The heaviest payload launched by Falcon 9 to date is 16.25t (a batch of starlink satellites on 18th March 2022). Starlink satellites are designed to insanely tightly fill up an F9 payload fairing. USG and NASA usually use ULA's vehicles for anything heavier than that. If you compare that to the heaviest LEO payload launched by CZ-5 so far (22.6t Tianhe) that is 39% more mass to LEO in practical terms.

The biggest advantage F9 has over all other LVs, of course, is the re-usability.
 

Top