Lu Yu, head of the science and technology committee at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, said designers at the largest developer of launch vehicles, have begun making tests with some of China’s in-service rockets to see whether they can be modified to be reusable.
China’s next generation of launch vehicles will also adopt reusable technologies, and the Long March 8 will be the first to use such technologies among new rockets.
They are planning for the Long March 8 to have its first test flight around 2021.
The Long March-8 rocket will have two stages and two boosters: the first stage and boosters are expected to be retrieved through vertical landing.
The new rockets will provide commercial launch services to customers around the globe.
China’s space transportation system roadmap is:
* Around 2025, reusable suborbital carriers will be successfully developed and suborbital space travel will be realized.
* Around 2030, rockets with two reusable stages will be developed.
* Around 2035, carrier rockets will be completely reusable which could realize the dream of space travel for ordinary people.
* around 2040 and hybrid-power reusable carriers will be developed. Space vehicles will be more diverse, intelligent, reliable, low-cost, efficient and convenient.
Li Tongyu, head of carrier rocket development at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology, said the Long March 8 will be capable of sending 4.5-metric-ton payloads to a sun-synchronous orbit, or 2.5 tons to a geosynchronous transfer orbit.