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China Space Transportation Technology

China Launches New Heavy-Lift Long March 5 Rocket For First Time (space.com) 93

hackingbear writes from a report via Space.com: China launched its second new rocket in the year. The Long March 5 rocket, lifted off from the Wenchang launch center on Hainan Island, off China's southern coast, at 8:43 a.m. EDT (1000 GMT; 8:43 p.m. Beijing time), carrying to orbit an experimental satellite called Shijian-17, which is designed to test electric-propulsion technology. Capable of a 25 metric ton payload to low-Earth orbit (LEO), Long March 5 is among the most powerful rockets in service. Besides the scheduled launch of China's upcoming space station, the Long March 5 will also loft Chang'e-5, a robotic sample-return mission to the moon. Chang'e-5 is currently scheduled to lift off sometime next year, Chinese space officials have said.
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China Launches New Heavy-Lift Long March 5 Rocket For First Time

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  • by ControlFreal ( 661231 ) <niek@NosPAm.bergboer.net> on Friday November 04, 2016 @03:04AM (#53211033) Journal
    The full launch-to-orbit sequence has been posted on YouTube [youtube.com].
  • Since the US has obviously taken a backseat on space exploration it is good another nation is willing to step up.

    • by murdocj ( 543661 )

      Right... as we orbit Jupiter, explore Pluto, rove Mars, and develop new capacity to send humans into space, we've "taken a back seat".
      Duh.

      • by EzInKy ( 115248 )

        The last tine we physically put a human on another piece of rock was when exactly?

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          I must have missed something because I don't remember any other nation ever physically putting a human on another piece of rock. When that happens the U.S. will be in the back seat, not before.

          • There's a difference, though, between position, velocity, and acceleration. You're in the position of having put twelve people on the surface of the Moon, but if the velocity of others is higher than yours, you'll be overtaken eventually.
            • Except...the only country making advances in manned space flight is the US. The only country making rockets which will take men outside of LEO is...the US. The only country building a rocket to take men to Mars is...the US. The only country making reusable rockets is...the US.

              • by phayes ( 202222 )

                To be fair, the Chinese are advancing on their agenda in Space. They're not to the point where they have overtaken either Russia's or the U.S.'s accomplishments but they're further along than they were.

              • I'll grant you that the US is at the front of researching and developing reusable launch vehicles. That's the best thing going for you at the moment, but many of your aerospace people [arstechnica.com] are dismissing even this advantage. You're NOT currently building "a rocket to take men to Mars"; the SLS is a lame joke, even considering the lack of relevant payload; and New Armstrong and MCT/ITS are not currently being built. And I'd definitely say that China is making advances in manned spaceflight. After all, they didn't
                • "Many of your aerospace people", you mean people making the old expendable rockets that are shit-scarred of being made obsolete? Choose your links better next time. I'm not American anyway. The ITS is being built, a development version of the Raptor engine has been test fired, and an oxygen tank has been built and tested.

                  If China is making advances then they're not showing it yet, their program is where the US and USSR were in the 60s.

                  • I'm not American either. And I have more hope for the Raptor than for the ITS. I still need convincing about the sanity of mixing subcooled liquid oxygen and heated gaseous oxygen in a single composite tank. However, regardless of how ITS turns out, I'm sure Raptors will be splendid - it seems like the ultimate chemical engine.
            • by phayes ( 202222 )

              There's also a difference between me planning to hit you in the face and me already having done so. Until I actually smack you in the pusser it hasn't happened yet.

              • So you've made a 180 degrees turn now? :D This puts US manned spaceflight plans into an interesting light.
                • by phayes ( 202222 )

                  Your reference frame is spinning if you imagine that my position has budged.

                  Again, China cannot claim to be putting the U.S. in the back seat until they actually produce achievements beyond those the U.S. has. They've got a loooong way to go yet and that's assuming that Space-X & BO don't render Chinese objectives as obsolete as those of ULA/ESA.

                  • And if they continue with the development in a similar manner to the last fifteen years or so, when we'll be approaching 2040 or some similar relevant BEO spaceflight timeframe (the US has no faster plans than that), they'll be in an entirely different position by then.
                    • by phayes ( 202222 )

                      Long term plans rarely play out & China's will only if their economy hit's no snags. An imploding real-estate bubble, the setback of their export based economy due to their rising costs, civil unrest due to their population demanding reforms, a second cultural revolution imposed by a communist party afraid of reforms, Space-X/Blue Origin undercutting China's launch costs by a magnitude or two, etc, all those and so many more can render those long range plans moot.

                      Oh but you have a magical crystal ball t

        • The last tine we physically put a human on another piece of rock was when exactly?

          By we I assume you mean America, and the last time the US put someone on another piece of rock was the last time that someone was on another piece of rock.

          If you really want to know exactly, it was December 14, 1972, 22:54:37 UTC.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @07:08AM (#53211669)

      Since the US has obviously taken a backseat on space exploration it is good another nation is willing to step up.

      Care to back that assertion up with any actual data? The US has more active deep space probes than anyone. The US has more orbital launches [wikipedia.org] than anyone else and that is despite temporarily lacking human rated launch vehicles. Heck, SpaceX alone has more orbital launches than every country except for China and Russia. US Astronauts logged more EVA time [wikipedia.org] in 2016 than astronauts from all other countries combined. The US has the most active spaceport in the world (Cape Canaveral).

      While I'd agree that the US isn't doing as much as it could in space, the US space program isn't second to anyone at the moment by most objective measures.

    • Since the US has obviously taken a backseat on space exploration

      You get more booty in the back seat!

    • Yah indeed ... (and please dont support a europe oriented section on slashdot before they deserve one and start telling IS you cant do that cos its wrong so that'l teach em pl0x)
      i mean like ... by now i'm wondering why besos and musk have not applied for chinese citizenship, or russian for that matter since on this side ..pff,
      i live on the sinking continent, crumbling rather maybe, the old world
      the new world is gonna be very busy taking the jooobe back from the chinese and building iron curtains again
  • # Everybody have fun tonight ...

  • Long term plan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jandersen ( 462034 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @03:58AM (#53211145)

    I think what is so remarkable about this is not so much China's individual achievements, but the fact that they clearly follow a long-term plan. Not to belittle American and Russian achievements, but they basically made it up as they went, and it did go much further than getting a bloke to the Moon and back again. NASA's scientists have always kept pushing for more exploration and shown great leadership, but the necessary, political will has been missing, and that is what the Chinese have. I think more or less everybody now agrees that China are definitely going to build one or more spacestations, and then go on to build a base on the Moon - and dare we hope, on to Mars? They have taken the lead, simple as that, and the rest of the world will follow. It feels good.

    • Re:Long term plan (Score:4, Interesting)

      by bgarcia ( 33222 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @05:49AM (#53211401) Homepage Journal

      ... and then go on to build a base on the Moon - and dare we hope, on to Mars? They have taken the lead, simple as that, and the rest of the world will follow.

      They're slightly ahead of SpaceX in the heavy-launch department, but they're behind in reusability and cost. As long as Musk doesn't meet an early demise, I believe that SpaceX will easily win the race to Mars.

      • by Terwin ( 412356 )

        ... and then go on to build a base on the Moon - and dare we hope, on to Mars? They have taken the lead, simple as that, and the rest of the world will follow.

        They're slightly ahead of SpaceX in the heavy-launch department, but they're behind in reusability and cost. As long as Musk doesn't meet an early demise, I believe that SpaceX will easily win the race to Mars.

        Considering the population and finances of China as compared to the resources Musk has at his disposal, if China has the political will to do so, they can easily beat Musk to mars.

        I'm kind of hoping for a new space-race with NASA backing Musk against the Chineese, as that seems like the best way to ensure there are both resources and political will for both sides to move forward at a brisk pace.

      • Saying that the Chinese are ahead of SpaceX in heavy lifters depends on how you measure "ahead". Although it has never flown in this configuration, the Falcon 9 Full Thrust in expendable configuration (no landing legs or grid fins, and no propellant reserved for landing) is a heavy-class lifter. It's only 22.8T to LEO vs. the Long March 5's 25T, and the difference in GTO capacity is much more pronounced (8.3T for F9E, 14T for LM5, probably because of the LM5's LH2/LOX upper stage), but SpaceX does already h

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Falcon 9 Full Thrust in expendable configuration (no landing legs or grid fins, and no propellant reserved for landing) is a heavy-class lifter. It's only 22.8T to LEO vs. the Long March 5's 25T

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Falcon_9_and_Falcon_Heavy_launches#2016 [wikipedia.org]
          Except F9:FT has never lifted more than 8T into LEO, 5T into GTO.
          This is a far cry from your false advertisement of 23T LEO, 8T GTO.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falcon_9 [wikipedia.org]
          F9:FT versus F9:v1.1

          First stage thrust: +16%
          First stage burn time: -10%
          First stage specific impulse: not listed for F9:FT
          Second stage thrust: +17%
          Second stage burn time: +6%
          Second stage specific impulse: +2%

          LEO payload: +73%
          GTO payload: +71%

          cbhacking, you have STU

          • By this logic, CZ-5 hasn't demonstrated that either. The satellite just launched doesn't weigh twenty tonnes.

            Less than 20% thrust increase, same burn time, no improvements in specific impulse, yet a glorious SEVENTY+ percent INCREASE in payload?

            Gravity losses reduction can be quite massive for a 16% thrust increase (which I believe isn't even the correct number to begin with). Remember that the actual acceleration is after subtracting the 1g.

            Likewise, the second stage changes should be more pronounced given the comparatively high dry mass of the second stage which has to be counted into the "gross payload" delivered into the final orbit. Th

    • Re:Long term plan (Score:4, Insightful)

      by phayes ( 202222 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @06:04AM (#53211459) Homepage

      The U.S. didn't lack long term plans for space in the 60's but an economic wake-up call in 1973 rendered most of them financially unreachable.

      If the real-estate bubble I keep hearing about in China implodes, well we'll see if the Chinese plans are just as unreachable.

      • NASA budget (Score:4, Informative)

        by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday November 04, 2016 @07:22AM (#53211747)

        The U.S. didn't lack long term plans for space in the 60's but an economic wake-up call in 1973 rendered most of them financially unreachable.

        The only thing that hurt the space program was a lack of political will to support it. Despite what many believe even at the height of the Apollo program during the 1960s the space program had plenty of detractors. There was never at any time a lack of available funds if we had cared to devote them to the space program. Our "fearless" leaders decided they wanted to prioritize other things but at no time was the actual ability of the US government to fund NASA in question. Funding dropped around 1973 to roughly current levels as the Apollo program was shut down. Adjusting for inflation NASA's budget today is roughly identical to the budget it had in 1973. Funding for NASA's budget as a percent of the federal budget was already being cut long before 1973 [wikipedia.org] to roughly the amount.

        • by khallow ( 566160 )
          Ok, so lack of political will made them financially unreachable. It still happened. It's worth noting that even with the long term funding rate since the mid-70s, NASA could have done a hell of a lot more than it has. Funding is not the only reason for failure here.
          • Ok, so lack of political will made them financially unreachable. It still happened.

            The point is that it did not happen because the USA was suddenly unable to fund NASA. NASA's budget grew for geopolitical reasons and then shrank when those same geopolitical reasons diminished in urgency. Merely a question of priorities rather than capabilities.

            It's worth noting that even with the long term funding rate since the mid-70s, NASA could have done a hell of a lot more than it has. Funding is not the only reason for failure here.

            I don't think anyone sensible would dispute that NASA hasn't achieved as much as possible. The space shuttle is a huge part of that. While I won't argue that it was completely without value, it did consume a vast and disproportionate amount of r

        • by phayes ( 202222 )

          There was never at any time a lack of available funds if we had cared to devote them to the space program. Our "fearless" leaders decided they wanted to prioritize other things but at no time was the actual ability of the US government to fund NASA in question.

          I never stated that there was an absolute absence of funding but thanks for trying to put your words in my mouth. Every budget in the national budget competes with other budgets for votes. Social Security, Medicare, & Defense get the lions share & NASA is a tiny discretionary budget with almost no constituents. When faced with the economic shocks of the early 70s the constituents of the 3 main blocks dried up the "extra" funding that Nasa had hoped for.

          If China's booming economy hits a snag like an

    • Everyone agrees that China plans their space missions such that they learn the maximum from the current one before planning the next one. The lessons are learned and applied before moving on the next step, hence the result that they are learning the same things on much smaller budgets.

      What I am amazed is that the Russians managed to achieve what they did despite the very incompetent political leadership. One highly incompetent (and mostly illiterate) politician used to sit close to the rockets during launch

    • Yes, dictatorships are usually more efficient at that sort of thing.

      Some people might at least question the value of the tradeoff?

    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      I think what is so remarkable about this is not so much China's individual achievements, but the fact that they clearly follow a long-term plan. Not to belittle American and Russian achievements, but they basically made it up as they went, and it did go much further than getting a bloke to the Moon and back again. NASA's scientists have always kept pushing for more exploration and shown great leadership, but the necessary, political will has been missing, and that is what the Chinese have. I think more or less everybody now agrees that China are definitely going to build one or more spacestations, and then go on to build a base on the Moon - and dare we hope, on to Mars? They have taken the lead, simple as that, and the rest of the world will follow. It feels good.

      You could view it like that. Another viewpoint is that China, like the US and former USSR in the 1960s, are developing their space program as a complementary program to their ballistic missile programs. Maybe that's a very pessimistic view of the situation, but given all the sabre-rattling over small pacific islands, North Korea, etc, I think there is a strong case to be made that this is the case.

      • Another viewpoint is that China, like the US and former USSR in the 1960s, are developing their space program as a complementary program to their ballistic missile programs.

        Well, there is no denying that being good at sending rockets to the Moon also helps when you are designing ICBMs, but I think China are genuinely seeking to establish themselves as a power in space, and not just militarily. In the long term, it makes sense to establish colonies off Earth.

  • When the article mentioned launching an electric drive, I was hoping it would be an EMDrive since they did some testing and validation of Roger Shawyer's impossible microwave in a coffee can drive, but looks like it is just an ion drive that is going up. Guess we will have to wait for Cannae Inc cubesat http://www.popularmechanics.co... [popularmechanics.com] or Roger's version that maybe the military has already send into space. Who knows.
  • Right now, China,is about where the USA was in the 60's with regard to space technology. Since everything is "made in China", they have the bulk of the worlds money, and can afford to develop things like this, whereas the rest of the global economy IS IN THE TANK. Once China's economy comes back to Earth (no pun intended), the entire world will be in another DEPRESSION, most likely leading to another global war. HAPPY FRIDAY!
    • Everything is made in China. But chinese manufacturers average less than 1% profit. They have made a bad pig fuck of that 1%. Bubbles everywhere.

    • Right now, China,is about where the USA was in the 60's with regard to space technology

      HAHAHAHA [wikipedia.org]

      Right, you keep believing that if it makes you feel warm and fuzzy. :-p

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