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Space Transportation Science

China Aims To Build World's Largest Rocket 250

Posted by timothy
from the one-up-man-space-ship dept.
hackingbear writes "Back in March, China revealed it is studying the feasibility of designing the most powerful carrier rocket in history for making a manned moon landing and exploring deep space, according to Liang Xiaohong, vice head of the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology. The rocket is envisaged to have a payload of 130 tonnes, five times larger than that of China's current largest rocket. This rocket, if built, will eclipse the 53 tonne capacity of the planned Falcon 9 Heavy from SpaceX. It will even surpass the largest rocket ever built, the 119-tonne Saturn V. China's next generation rocket Long March 5, currently scheduled to debut in 2014, has a payload capacity of 25 tonnes to LEO."
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China Aims To Build World's Largest Rocket

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  • by FrankSchwab (675585) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @04:14PM (#35842378) Journal

    Why choose?
    How about a Chinese knockoff of a Soviet copy of an American design?

    I mean, C'mon, the Chinese certainly have the engineering talent to match that of the US and Soviets in the middle of the last century, and technology that's vastly superior to last-century technology. They have 50 years of There is a world of "free trade" that means they can buy anything they can't make - even the US and Russia would be happy to supply them. (Imagine the Soviets attempting to buy oxygen turbopumps in 1959 from a US supplier). They have money coming out the wazoo. There is no doubt that they could do this.

    Sometimes, though, copying someone else's work makes things cheaper, quicker, and with fewer dead astronauts.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 16, 2011 @04:43PM (#35842626)
    That's called "form follows function". How else would a rocket look like? A cube? A sphere? The limits on the strength of materials, the limits of propulsion technology really shape what technology looks like. Do you think Airbus copied Boeing because their planes all follow the same plan? It's called ENGINEERING REALITY. I don't expect to find much of that in a Space Nutter thread, but Jesus wept dude, things look the way they are for good reasons, not some conspiracy or laziness.

    You're probably a software idiot too, aren't you?

  • by thoughtsatthemoment (1687848) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @06:53PM (#35843662) Journal

    the Chinese have something to offer

    That's engineering effort, or man power, or what you would call cheap labor. I think if China and American could work as one nation, humans could be on the Mars a lot sooner.

  • by DanielRavenNest (107550) on Saturday April 16, 2011 @08:25PM (#35844048)

    In manufacturing, there is something called the "learning curve". As you run a production line and optimize how you do things, you learn to do it faster and cheaper. But one thing Boeing learned is production below 2 units a month did not produce a learning curve. People were not doing the tasks often enough, and *forgot* between repetitions when they were more than two weeks apart.

    For a conventional rocket that climbs from the ground, they all have the same amount of atmosphere to push through. The drag is produced per square meter of frontal area, so you want a certain amount of mass of rocket per unit area to keep the drag losses within reason. That's why most rockets are around 50-100m tall. Once drag is taken care of, you get more efficient by going closer to spherical tanks. So rockets tend to get fatter once they are tall enough.

    So at the lower payload limit you are bound by efficient shape for the rocket, and at the upper limit you want to launch often enough to learn from experience. In between will be the optimal size for lowest launch cost.

Parts that positively cannot be assembled in improper order will be.